Dividing Foreign-Held Assets After A Divorce

If you and your spouse own foreign-held assets together, our divorce solicitors can help you come to an agreement that meets the best interests of you and your family.

More about Dividing Foreign-Held Assets After A Divorce

Dividing offshore and foreign assets in a divorce can present additional legal complexities. Our lawyers at Forbes Solicitors provide expert guidance on the implications of dividing foreign offshore assets and can assist you through the process.

What is Dividing Foreign-Held Assets After a Divorce?

What is Dividing Foreign-Held Assets After a Divorce?

Dividing foreign-held assets after a divorce refers to the process of dividing assets that are located outside of the UK between divorcing spouses. This can be a complex process, particularly if the foreign country has different laws and regulations regarding property division. It is important to seek legal advice in order to ensure that all foreign-held assets are divided fairly and in accordance with the laws of the relevant country.

If you or your spouse has assets held abroad, it can make the challenging and emotionally-draining divorce process even more complicated. Forbes Solicitors, however, draw on years of experience to make your divorce as stress-free as possible, even when tracing foreign-held assets.

Assets such as property, possessions and money that are held overseas can be treated like any other asset in a divorce and considered for financial settlement. There are, however, some issues when dealing with these that make the process longer and more costly. Some of this arises from the difficulty in accounting for all assets held abroad. For instance, the well-known case of Michelle Young divorcing from her oil-tycoon husband went on for seven years, although she was eventually awarded £20 million.

Correct Documentation of Foreign Held Assets

Correct Documentation of Foreign Held Assets

As a case that lasts a long time is generally more expensive, it is a sensible idea (even if you are happily married) to keep all documents pertaining to assets held by either spouse in an easily accessible place where they can be found without trouble and expedite the process of tracing overseas assets. This will also ensure that neither of you are open to the accusation of hiding your assets abroad - something that can damage your case, resulting in you receiving a lesser settlement than you are entitled to, or even leave you facing prison time for contempt of court.

If you suspect your spouse is hiding assets overseas in order to reduce your divorce settlement, Forbes Solicitors can represent you to ensure all matrimonial property is accounted for. Equally, if you have assets abroad yourself, we can ensure you are disclosing everything that you need to and are not leaving yourself open to accusations of hiding assets.

Enforcement of the Court's Financial Order

Enforcement of the Court's Financial Order

Even once property, businesses, possessions or other foreign-held assets have been identified as part of the court's financial order, the actual enforcement can be a difficult process in itself. Forbes Solicitors will liaise with solicitors in the relevant countries as well as overseas courts to make sure the financial order is upheld and you get your full share of your divorce settlement.

We will also be able to advise you as to what constitutes matrimonial property. Generally, assets held abroad that were acquired by one spouse prior to marriage are not matrimonial property and so would be exempt from inclusion in the financial settlement.

Dividing Foreign-Held Assets After A Divorce FAQs

How are foreign assets divided in a divorce?

Foreign assets are treated in the same way as domestic assets in a divorce settlement. The court will consider all assets, including those held overseas, and divide them fairly between the parties. This may involve seeking assistance from foreign courts or authorities to ensure that assets are properly valued and accounted for. The division of foreign assets will depend on the specific circumstances of the case and the applicable laws in the relevant jurisdictions.

What happens if one spouse hides foreign assets during divorce proceedings?

If one spouse hides foreign assets during divorce proceedings they may face serious consequences. The court may order the non-disclosing spouse to pay a fine, disclose the assets, or even face imprisonment for contempt of court. Additionally, the court may also adjust the financial settlement in favour of the other spouse to compensate for the hidden assets. It is important for both spouses to fully disclose all assets during divorce proceedings to ensure a fair and just settlement.

Can foreign assets be included in a prenuptial agreement?

Yes, foreign assets can be included in a prenuptial agreement under UK law. However, it is important to note that the agreement must comply with the requirements of the jurisdiction where the assets are located. It is recommended to seek legal advice from a lawyer who is familiar with the laws of both jurisdictions.

What is the process for valuing foreign assets in a divorce?

The process for valuing foreign assets in a divorce involves obtaining a valuation of the asset from a reputable source, such as a professional valuer or accountant. The value of the asset will then be converted into pounds sterling using the exchange rate on the date of valuation. The court will consider the value of the foreign asset when dividing the marital assets between the parties.

How does the jurisdiction of the court affect the division of foreign assets?

The jurisdiction of the court can affect the division of foreign assets in a divorce settlement. The court has the power to make orders in relation to foreign assets if they have jurisdiction over the parties involved. However, the court may face difficulties in enforcing these orders if the foreign country does not recognize or enforce them. It is important to seek legal advice from a specialist in international family law to ensure the best outcome for the division of foreign assets.

What happens if the foreign country has different laws regarding property division in divorce?

If a foreign country has different laws regarding property division in divorce, the UK court will consider the laws of that country and how they apply to the case. The court may also consider any agreements made between the parties regarding property division. Ultimately, the court will make a decision based on what is fair and reasonable in the circumstances of the case.

Can foreign assets be frozen during divorce proceedings?

Yes, foreign assets can be frozen during divorce proceedings. The court has the power to issue freezing orders to prevent either party from disposing of or dealing with assets, including those held overseas, until the divorce settlement is reached. This is to ensure that both parties have a fair share of the assets and to prevent any attempt to hide or transfer assets to avoid sharing them.

What are the tax implications of dividing foreign assets in a divorce?

Dividing foreign assets in a divorce can have tax implications, such as capital gains tax or inheritance tax. The tax implications will depend on the specific assets and the country in which they are located. It is important to seek professional advice from a tax specialist to ensure compliance with UK tax laws.

How can a family law solicitor assist with dividing foreign assets in a divorce?

A family law solicitor can assist with dividing foreign assets in a divorce by providing advice on the applicable laws and regulations in the relevant foreign jurisdiction, identifying and valuing the assets, negotiating with the other party or their legal representatives, and drafting a settlement agreement or court order to ensure a fair and enforceable division of assets. They can also liaise with foreign lawyers or experts if necessary.

Our dedicated Family/Divorce team

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Partner and Head of Department, Family/Divorce

Rubina Vohra

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Partner and Head of Department, Family/Divorce

Helen Shirbon

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Partner, Family/Divorce

Gill Carr

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