Our team of English lawyers are specialists in international divorce and family law, conducting divorces for expatriates through the UK courts. We are proud to have won a number of legal awards in the last year including ‘Excellence in Family Law’ from Corporate Livewire, ‘Best Expatriate Family Lawyers’ in the Middle East Business Awards 2015, ‘Client choice family law award in the UAE’ from Legal’s Finest and ‘Best lawyers for advanced financial provision’ in the AI legal awards 2015.

We advise many hundreds of British expatriates on family law matters each year. Our clients reside across the world, but in particular in expatriate hubs in the Middle East (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman), in Africa (especially Kenya and Nigeria), and Asia (mostly in Singapore, China and Thailand).

Our lawyers advise on a range of UK family law issues involving expats, from the separation of multi-national couples to the safe recovery of abducted children. Our clients are reassured by our team’s international experience and training, together with our local knowledge of issues affecting expatriates.

Due to the specialist nature of our work, our lawyers have a deeper understanding and practical experience of jurisdictional rules, divorce strategy, enforcement, recognition of orders and other issues that feature within expatriate divorce and family law matters.

We have a good relationship with leading barrister’s chambers in London, to ensure our client’s advocacy needs are met if court proceedings are required.

Alexandra Tribe is recognised by her peers as a leading adviser on Sharia and Islamic family laws. She has acted for a range of Muslim clients with cases involving Islamic marriage contracts, dowry claims, the recognition of Islamic marriages and divorces by Talaq. She advises on the overlap between Sharia and English family laws, particularly for clients residing in or with links to the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Pakistan.

Please see above for our range of expertise, or type the topic you require in to the search box to find useful and informative articles on a range of legal issues. To begin, read our ‘top tips’ for divorce, our ‘beginner’s guide’, our ‘Divorce Dictionary’ or our answers to ‘frequently asked questions’.

Our firm specialises in international divorce for expatriates. We advise on the appropriate ‘jurisdiction‘ for divorce, in other words which courts may accept a divorce from an expatriate living or moving abroad.

Many British expatriates are not aware that they can divorce simply and inexpensively through the English courts, without returning home. The process can be dealt with on paper, without the requirement to attend court, in as little as 5 months. Divorcing through the English courts can take away the fear and uncertainty of divorcing in an international jurisdiction. A divorce through the English courts usually entitles the court to additionally make financial orders for example for maintenance or division of property. Such orders may not be possible in the expatriate jurisdiction.

England is notoriously known as the ‘divorce capital’ of the world, as a result of the generous financial awards made for wives, including lengthy periods of spousal support. International divorce can be complex, and an inaccurate jurisdiction plea in a divorce petition can have detrimental effect on the financial award one party may receive. Our lawyers are specialists in this field to ensure each client receives the best possible outcome.

Our experienced lawyers will carry out the divorce process on your behalf, advising you at each step, to ensure that you and your spouse can move on as soon as possible.

  • Prenuptial agreements
  • Marital agreements
  • Separation agreements
  • Children agreements
  • Sharia compliant agreements

Where the parties can cooperate to achieve a negotiated settlement, there is likely to be a considerable saving in legal expenses as compared with a contentious litigated approach. Negotiations can take place between the parties directly, in mediation, or though lawyers. For negotiations to be meaningful, the parties should take bespoke advice on what the likely range of outcomes could be based on the facts of their case.

The answer will depend on whether negotiations are taking place against the framework of English law, or local law. Our lawyers will advise you on the law that will apply to your matter, and give you a range of options for settlement. Most importantly, our lawyers will ensure that the agreement reached is enforceable in the jurisdiction in which you live and foreseeably will live in the future. We have considerable experience preparing pre-nuptial agreements within the framework of English law. In the event of a divorce the English courts in particular have a very wide power to reallocate assets regardless of the legal ownership of

those assets and who bought them to the marriage. Assets acquired before the marriage, or gifted to or inherited by one party are vulnerable in the event of divorce. Accordingly, a prenuptial agreement could be described as a method by which the parties agree to limit the court’s wide discretion. The weight to be afforded to a prenuptial agreement will be greatly affected by the form of the agreement and the manner in which it is negotiated and executed. For example, both parties should take independent legal advice, they should each provide full and frank financial disclosure and the agreement should not be entered into fewer than 21 days prior to the marriage.

Divorce and separation will most likely involve the division of matrimonial assets. Such assets could include properties, shares, bank accounts or simply furniture. You may have concerns about how you will manage financially following your separation, and how you will meet the everyday outgoings for yourself or any children if you have not been the main earner in the family.

Our lawyers will give you advice on the current law relating to financial settlements in a coherent and understandable way. They will

relate their advice to your particular circumstances, to enable you to consider the type of settlement that would suit you. They will encourage and assist you to reach an amicable agreement with your spouse, which can be formalised by way of a separation agreement or approved by the court.

  • To obtain maintenance urgently from a spouse
  • To obtain disclosure of a spouses’ assets
  • To prevent the removal or sale of assets by one spouse
  • To obtain a financial settlement with the guidance of a court timetable

Our lawyers will discuss your options with you from the outset, including the costs, timescale and likely outcome of any course of action. This will allow you to make an informed decision as to how you wish your case to progress.

You may be a wife who is concerned about how you will manage financially after divorce, especially if you have not been working or will lose your husband’s work related benefits.

You may be the mother of children and be worried about who should meet their school fees or day to day living expenses.

Alternatively you may be a husband who is concerned about your wife’s entitlement to maintenance, and what the law says about the level of maintenance for your children.

Our lawyers will advise you and ensure the law is applied specifically to your personal situation, so that you can achieve a settlement with your spouse that is long term and enforceable.

Divorce and separation can be more painful when children are involved. Following separation, parents may feel uncertain as to which of them will have day to day care of the children and how arrangements can work practically in terms of visas, sponsorship, accommodation and work related benefits.

The non-resident parent may be concerned about losing regular contact with their children, being unable to take them on holiday or visit grandparents.

Both parents may have concerns about how decisions will be made regarding the children and be unsure of their rights, especially in a foreign country.

Our lawyers will discuss what laws will be applicable to your matter, and advise accordingly. Our aim is to ensure that you and your children are protected, and long standing, workable arrangements are made between parents.

Our lawyers will discuss your options with you from the outset, including the costs, timescale and likely outcome of any course of action. This will allow you to make an informed decision as to how you wish your case to progress.

We have produced a number of guides to assist separating parents to understand the law that will apply to arrangements for children. Please click here for tips to consider when talking to children about divorce, children disputes in the UAE, top divorce tips for men and women, and review our advice on child abduction.

Often due to fear and uncertainty, a parent may decide to permanently take a child from their place of residence without the consent of the other parent. This causes considerable turmoil for the child and left-behind parent. Our lawyers will sensitively advise on this specialist area of law.

For parents who have been left behind following the abduction of their children, our lawyers will work expediently to try and ensure their safe and immediate return.

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (1980) is a legal mechanism available to parents seeking the return of, or access to, their children who have been wrongful removed or retained in another country that is a party to the Convention.

The Convention seeks to deal fairly and speedily with cases of parental child abduction across borders.

However many expatriates that we advise are resident in countries that are not signatory to this convention. Our lawyers are experienced in the procedures required when the return of abducted children is not possible through the Hague convention.

For parents fearing or subject to child abduction, please contact our out of hours emergency number: 00971 50 259 1238.

  • Can the children stay with me?
  • Does my spouse have to pay for us?
  • What if we stay married?
  • What if my husband cancels my visa?
  • Is adultery a criminal offence?
  • Can I prevent my wife from taking my children outside the UAE?
  • Can I apply the law of my home country in the Dubai courts?

These are common questions and concerns that separating couples in the UAE may have. Our experienced team of bilingual English and Arabic speaking Sharia lawyers will advise you on the relevant UAE laws. Our firm has an advocacy licence issued by the Dubai Rulers court enabling our Sharia lawyers to represent you in the Dubai courts, if necessary.

Expatriate Law Resolution help for familiesAlexandra Tribe Resolution specialist with Expatriate LawExpatriate Law Dubai solicitors registered with the Law SocietyAlexandra Tribe Resolution member with Expatriate Law

Alexandra Tribe - accredited Resolution specialist