International divorce and service of documents

The divorce process requires the court to be satisfied that the responding party is aware of the proceedings and has been given the opportunity to engage in those proceedings. To this end, the court takes steps to ensure that service of relevant documentation upon the respondent party is correctly conducted. Service is particularly challenging in cases involving an international divorce.

Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, the courts in England and Wales take something of a “relaxed” approach to service of court papers in international proceedings. the maxim “anything goes” covers the vast majority of cases. When the court has been asked to consider disputes on service, they have broadly accepted service via all known forms of demonstrable communication including via e-mail, social media postings and text message. under FPR 6.19, the court is afforded a great deal of leeway and discretion in determining if effective service has been provided.

International service is a particularly complex area of procedural law and often best conducted with the benefit of specialist advice, especially in circumstances were compliance may be rebutted and time is of the essence, e.g. jurisdictional race to issue proceedings. However, there is nevertheless a robust system in place to facilitate service of documents with an international element, governed by the 1965 Hague Service Convention. Although not all countries have signed up to the convention, all existing EU countries, Australia, Canada, USA etc are participants.

Serving  Bedford and the surrounding northern villages, together with offices in central London, our lawyers can help you with all your divorce, matrimonial finance disputes, together with all other family law and separation matters.  If you want to speak to one of our specialist solicitors about disclosure and your  matrimonial finances, contact us on 01234 889777 or 0207 177 9777 and speak with us today.

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