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Life After Divorce – Dealing With Overseas Property, Wills, Power of Attorney and Pensions

Posted by Posted in Divorce, Family and Children

Going through a divorce is never easy, but what comes next can be made even more challenging when one party wishes to move abroad or has assets overseas. Perhaps one of you wants to move back to your home country to be with family and friends, or maybe there is property abroad that you need to deal with. Unfortunately, once your divorce is granted, that is not the end of unravelling the life that you had with your spouse; there are still several legal matters you need to attend to. This article looks at some of the key things you may need to consider after going through a divorce with an international element.

If you have gotten divorced in England and Wales, but one or both parties to the divorce have property or income abroad, you may need to enforce a financial order in another country, which can be challenging.

You may need to seek a financial order abroad,  such as when an overseas property is to be sold or transferred to you. There may also be a need for an overseas financial order if your former spouse has relocated to another country and they are to make maintenance payments to you. You will need to seek advice from an experienced international family law solicitor as to how you enforce such an order will depend on the circumstances and the country where you need it to be enforced.

Updating your Will

It is also essential to review your Will after divorce. If you made your Will in England and Wales, then your Will is still valid in the event of divorce but may not be fit for purpose. Many people appoint their spouse as an executor and make them the main beneficiary of their Will. However, the effect of divorce on the Will is that it treats your spouse as if they passed away before you. This means that your spouse will no longer be able to inherit from your Will or act as your executor. Although this may be what you would like to happen, this leaves significant gaps in your estate plan. You will need to appoint another person to act as your executor and decide who you wish to inherit from your estate.

Change your Power of Attorney

Similarly; most people will appoint their spouse as their attorney. However, the effect of divorce is that it will terminate your former spouse’s appointment as your attorney, so you may be left without a power of attorney in place. We hope you will never need your power of attorney, but it is essential to have one in place to provide you with the peace of mind to move forward. We can provide advice and assistance with creating a new power of attorney.

Pensions if one partner moves abroad

Pensions can be a complex area of financial settlement in divorce, even more so when one party lives abroad or wishes to move overseas in the future.

It is not possible for the courts in England & Wales to make a pension sharing order against a pension held in a foreign pension scheme. However, your former spouse can transfer their pension funds into an overseas scheme, meaning you could lose out on pension income if this is not properly addressed as part of your financial settlement. Typically, the courts prefer a ‘clean break’ regarding pensions and will make a pension sharing order, which divides pensions right away. This is compared to a pension attachment order, which determines that a percentage of a person’s future income will be paid to their ex-spouse once the pension holder reaches retirement age.

We can fully advise you about your situation to ensure that you can access pension funds under these circumstances. We can also assist you in seeking advice from a solicitor in the jurisdiction where any pension funds are held, if relevant. .

Contact IMD Solicitors – International Family Law Experts

If you need advice regarding international divorce or what comes next, get in touch with our experienced team today. Our offices are based in the UK and are located in Manchester, London and Birmingham. Contact our specialist international family law team on 0330 107 0107 or request a callback.

This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.

Published by:

Iwona DurlakSenior Partner

Family Law – IMD Solicitors LLP

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