I am British as is my wife. We were married in France in 1993 and have a house and two children in France. In Oct. 2010 I separated from my wife but remained in France. In October 2011 I changed residence to Switzerland (just over the border) and applied for divorce under French law. My wife has countered this, saying that British law should be applied. My wifes lawyer has stated that because British law does not explicitly say that it is not competent in this case, and because I am no longer living in France, the law of our common nationality must be applied, according to *Swiss* law, because I am now in Switzerland.What does British law say about its applicability?
System of Law: England-and-Wales
Hired french lawyer!
Hello,Have the French courts accepted jurisdiction?
The judge is deciding who will have jurisdiction. My lawyers are quoting Brussels II B, her lawyer has just written to the judge with details of Swiss law. The argument continues... my lawyers have asked me to comment on what my wifes lawyer has said, hence my question to you. Is there some article outlining when British law is to be applied? We have never lived in Britain during our marriage and had intended making France our home. The judge is receiving arguments and will give judgement on July 3
Thank you.Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as British law, England & Wales have their own jurisdiction, Scotland has its own as has Northern Ireland. The English courts have jurisdiction to grant a divorce in England if either spouse
(a) is domiciled in England or Wales when the proceedings are begun, or (b) is habitually resident in England or Wales throughout the period of one year ending with the date on which proceedings are begun.
So in your case, English courts have jurisdiction over your divorce as both of you are presumably domiciled in the UK, even though you are not resident in the UK.
Hope this clarifies. Please rate my answer and we can continue for free if need be.
Thanks for your answer; I am not sure we are 'domiciled' in the uk except by birth: We bought a house in france (we have no residence in the UK), our children were born in Geneva and go to school there, and I have a job in France and Switzerland (CERN crosses the border) until I retire; but I understand that domicile is a slippery concept
Yes, it is a slippery concept but if say your father was born in the UK, you would normally acquire his domicile.Hope this helps. Please rate my answer positively and we can continue further for free if need be.
My father was born in Dublin, Eire and my wife is Scottish...
In that case you could argue that you have Irish domicile, not English/UK.Your wife may have Scottish/UK domicile.I suggest you raise these issues with your lawyers and let the Swiss judge decide. All the best
English Solicitor with over 10 years legal experience
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