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How Brexit may impact family law

With a scheduled departure date of 31 October 2019, Brexit continues to loom large over all aspects of the daily news cycle. However, the potential impact on families appears to have gathered little fanfare. It is worth considering how Brexit may impact family law matters.

If the UK exits the EU without a deal, a so called “hard Brexit”, some current EU family law agreements will no longer apply to the UK from 01 November 2019. This may affect rules on matters including the country that a potential family law dispute is heard in, together with how court decisions made in one territory will be recognised in another. Such disputes will include matters such as divorce and living or contact arrangements for children.

For example, if you apply for a divorce after 31 October, getting your divorce recognised in an EU country after a UK “hard Brexit” may be affected. Although, if your case is ongoing before the court in England and Wales on 31 October, your divorce will operate under the current regime.

Likewise, with matters concerning children, if your application regarding child arrangements is ongoing in England or Wales on 31 October, your case will continue under the current rules. However, if an application about child arrangements and need to have an order accepted and put into action in an EU country after exit day, this may need to be done in a different court or under a different procedure.

As we have become accustomed to hearing, matters relating to Brexit remain unhelpfully unclear. Obtaining specialist legal advice throughout your dispute will be vitally important to prevent being caught up in the uncertainty.

If you would like any advice in relation to how Brexit may impact family law, please contact a specialist at Hawkins Family Law on enquiries@hawkinsfamilylaw.co.uk or on 01908 262680 / 01869 225080.

Philip is a Resolution member and formed part of the campaign to support no fault divorce proceedings. Philip is also contributor to the legal and national media on family law issues.

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