“Brexit” – It is a phrase I for one am getting a little tired of hearing. Sadly, it isn’t going to go away. It will affect all of us, including, theoretically, family lawyers.
There are reports from the Bar Council that Brexit will “risk disruption and confusion” in family law proceedings and have postulated that it could become difficult to enforce UK judgements in countries that remain in the Union, and vice versa.
However, there are many in the legal profession that believe this change should be viewed in a positive manner. The UK has adopted many of the EU’s Regulations in the Family Courts and the most likely prospect is that Parliament will decree that European law will remain valid when the UK eventually leaves the Union. Any repeals/amendments of law would probably be dealt with on a case by case basis.
It is generally accepted that there will be very little change in respect of Child Arrangements Order proceedings. The country in which the child is “habitually resident” will still be dealt with in proceedings. There was an increasing agreement in the way children matters should be dealt with between EU countries before Brexit. It is thought this agreement will continue regardless of whether we as a country are “in” or “out”.
The grounds for a divorce were decided by the UK Parliament and therefore will remain unchanged. When issuing a divorce, the country the matter will be heard in can be either where a party (husband or wife) have lived for 1 year prior to issuing the proceedings or their “domicile”, essentially their permanent home. Leaving the EU could mean opening up conflicts as to where the proceedings are dealt with, however most countries are believed to have remedies in place.
The truth is, no one really knows what will happen once the UK leaves the EU, and there is no way of knowing if the changes (if any) will be a benefit or a detriment to family law proceedings.
What people can be certain of for the time being is that nothing will happen for at least two years. During the “phase out” period once Article 50 is enacted, the status quo for family law will remain.
If you would like some advice about a specific area of family law, please contact our experienced solicitors here at Farleys. We can advise on a range of issues from divorce and separation to adoption and child matters. Get in touch today on 0845 287 0939 or send your enquiry through our online contact form.