On top of the normal stress and uncertainty of separating from your partner, British expats living abroad will have additional worries about what laws will apply to divorce, and how the process will work. For British expats in Zug, this is no different, but help is at hand.
A common misconception is that you need to divorce in the country in which you were married. The reality is that following a change to the law at the start of 2021, if you or your spouse were born in England, or have strong connections to England, you are now more able to divorce through the English courts and apply English law to your situation. For many expats in Zug, this makes more sense than applying local laws, as often their main connections remain in England, such as wider family and/or assets such as property or pensions.
The divorce process and laws in England have evolved recently. Not only is the process now carried out online, so it is easily accessible if you live in Zug, from April 2022 a change to the law will mean couples can agree to get divorced, rather than allege blame on one another. This will result in a more amicable process, which will be better for the whole family. There is usually no need to return to England to divorce here.
If a couple in Zug is getting divorced in England, it will be the English laws that will apply to the division of their finances. Advancements in technology and working practices mean that being based abroad is no impediment to an amicable resolution. Mediation, or other forms of alternative dispute resolution, can be effectively accessed remotely, allowing couples to reach an amicable solution rather than requiring the assistance of a Judge in court.
If an agreement is not reached and the matter does progress to court, hearings are being held remotely and so parties based in Zug can get the same access and levels of participation as attending a hearing in person.
Whilst it is usual for the local laws where children are resident to apply to any dispute over child arrangements, English laws may still apply in particular circumstances. If the parents are going through a divorce or separation, it can make more sense for English law to also apply in respect of the children too.
Parents may wish to apply English legal principles to a children dispute which does not require court intervention, and services such as mediation can be readily accessed remotely.
Unmarried Couples in Zug
Separating unmarried couples in Zug may also seek financial support through the English courts on behalf of their children, if one of the parents or the child is English, or they have strong connections to England. These claims can include maintenance, payment of school fees for a child, provision of a home and other capital claims. They can also include an order that one parent provide the legal fees for another parent.
For more information, please contact Oscar Smith at Expatriate Law, who specialises in advising expats about family law. Oscar works closely with Swiss lawyers to enable clients to compare and contrast the divorce outcome in Switzerland and England, to determine which jurisdiction would lead to the more favourable outcome.