An increasing number of marriages occur between people one or both of whom live or have their permanent homes outside of England and Wales or who move to their original country if the marriage breaks down. If either of the parents or indeed a child is ordinarily resident outside the jurisdiction the Child Support Act will not apply to questions concerning the maintenance of the children. If either or both of them, on the breakdown of a marriage, wish to take proceedings in the jurisdiction of the courts in England and Wales they can institute divorce proceedings provided one of them has been ordinarily resident within the jurisdiction for more than one year or is domiciled here.
If the marriage took place abroad the proof of its validity is required by production of the original marriage certificate, as it is in cases where the marriage took place in England or Wales. If the marriage certificate is in a foreign language it should be translated by someone competent to do so and the translation should be filed with the certificate and the particulars of the translator’s qualification.
Where there is a choice of jurisdiction as to where the proceedings should be taken, a petitioner should take advice as to which jurisdiction it would be better to invoke. For instance if a party living in Scotland does not wish his recent inheritance to be brought into account as part of his resources he may prefer to petition in Scotland although his wife is living in England. It may be possible for a financial application to be brought in England and Wales even if a divorce has taken place abroad, but the advantage may be with the court where the divorce was initiated.
Before 1984, if a husband obtained a foreign divorce a wife could