Lisa Pepper discusses recent divorce jurisdiction cases of Agbaje and Sharbatly

13 Aug 2019

Many marriages are a meeting of not only two minds but two jurisdictions. Relationships are often international. On divorce, the jurisdiction where the couple married doesn’t matter, provided they had a ceremony recognised as valid under English Law.

The choice of jurisdiction in divorce and financial proceedings is a common issue. Careful advice needs to be taken from lawyers in both jurisdictions to weigh up the pros and cons of where to commence proceedings.

Even after choosing that jurisdiction, if it isn’t England, in certain circumstances a spouse can still bring a financial claim here after they have been awarded a financial settlement in another country. The Application is made under Part III of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984.

The case of Agbaje v Akinnoye-Agbaje [2010] in the Supreme Court is well-known by Family Lawyers. It set out the circumstances in which a spouse who divorced in another jurisdiction can make a financial claim. It also set out principles for subsequent cases in how the court should decide the amount of the financial award.

Following on from Agbaje, the case of Sharbatly v Shagroon [2012] in the Court of Appeal refused an Application by the Wife under the MFPA Act. The husband had obtained a talaq divorce in Saudi Arabia. She was refused not because of the talaq divorce, but because they had not had a valid marriage ceremony recognised under English Law. 

Sadly, it is all too common that spouses can think an Islamic religious ceremony equals a valid marriage here. 

It remains the case however that if a valid marriage ceremony took place and the parties then divorce and have a financial settlement outside this jurisdiction, in certain circumstances a spouse is not prevented from applying for a “second bite of the cherry” and bringing a claim here.

Lisa is an experienced family lawyer specialising in all aspects of family law.

Share this article

Insights from our London Divorce LawyersVIEW ALL

  1. 6.5.2022

    My ex has cut me off during divorce

    Unfortunately, it is far too common that when a client says it’s over, their spouse with the “purse strings”...

    Read more
  2. 6.5.2022

    How the Court views loans from parents during...

    A frequent issue in financial divorce cases is a loan from a spouse’s parent, often to pay legal fees,...

    Read more
  3. mesher order house

    Mesher Orders Explained

    What is a Mesher order? A Mesher Order allows the sale of the family home to be postponed in a...

    Read more
  4. 11.4.2022

    The End of The Blame Game!

    No-fault divorce will make divorce more amicable  The divorce ‘blame game’ has been consigned to history and the long-awaited reforms...

    Read more
  5. 11.4.2022

    Divorcing couples reaching financial settlement through Private FDR

    The Runaway Advantages of the Private FDR Our specialist lawyers are keen to ensure our divorcing clients achieve cost-effective outcomes...

    Read more
  6. 31.3.2022

    10 Interesting Facts About Same Sex Marriage and Divorce

    Eight years after same-sex marriage was written into law, we’re taking a look at these major life events by...

    Read more
  7. 31.3.2022

    No-Fault Divorce Has Arrived!

    Have you heard that breakup rates were exploding during the pandemic? New data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS)...

    Read more
  8. 28.2.2022

    Decree Nisi

    In England and Wales, there are three key stages to the divorce process:  The Divorce Petition The Decree Nisi The...

    Read more
  9. 28.2.2022

    Divorce applications shut down from 31 March 2022

    From last year all divorce petitions in England and Wales were to be submitted to the court using the court...

    Read more
  10. 9.12.2021

    Are irreconcilable differences grounds for divorce?

    If you have come across this article it may have been as a result of an online search to see...

    Read more
  11. 9.12.2021

    Negotiating financial settlements in divorce

    Costly and acrimonious divorces: a lesson in what not to do  If you’re determined to pursue your financial claims...

    Read more
  12. 8.12.2021

    Reasons for divorce. Which is right for us?

    In England and Wales, there is only one legal ground for divorce, which is that the marriage has broken down...

    Read more
  13. squirrel hiding assets

    Uncovering hidden assets in your divorce

    Hiding Assets During a Divorce As part of your divorce, you and your ex will have to agree on how...

    Read more
  14. 10.11.2021

    Difference between Decree Nisi and Decree Absolute

    The divorce process will, for many people, mean an introduction to some new terminology.  Two of the most important terms...

    Read more
  15. 9.11.2021

    Keeping social media out of divorce proceedings

    We’ve recently seen the playing out on twitter and Instagram of the high-profile separation of actor Ioan Gruffudd and...

    Read more
  16. 9.11.2021

    I helped build my spouse’s career

    What is the impact on our divorce settlement? It’s been almost two years since The Da Vinci Code author...

    Read more
  17. negotiation

    How to speed up a divorce

    6 steps to speed up the divorce process For many people, once they have made the decision that their marriage is...

    Read more
  18. 9.11.2021

    6 cases that shape your divorce settlement

    Part of what makes our divorce lawyers experts in their field is knowing what way a judge is likely to...

    Read more
  19. 4.11.2021

    Form E – What is it and how do...

    What is a Form E? If you or your former spouse have applied for a financial order as part of...

    Read more
  20. 2.11.2021

    Husband imprisoned for contempt of court in divorce...

    Non-compliance with any court order is dealt with seriously as contempt of court and carries the risk of a prison...

    Read more
  21. 19.10.2021

    The Same-Sex Divorce Process

    What Happens When a Same-Sex Relationship Breaks Down? Recent news of Rylan Clark-Neal and Dan Neal’s divorce after failing...

    Read more
  22. 19.10.2021

    Decree Absolute

    What is a Decree Absolute? A Decree Absolute is the final stage in divorce proceedings and the document that officially...

    Read more
  23. 28.9.2021

    Family Courts Backlogs Exacerbated by Pandemic

    Court backlogs: Divorcing couples face ruinous costs as last-minute court hearing cancellations become commonplace Divorcing couples are facing ruinous costs...

    Read more
  24. beneficial interest in property review at the court of appeal

    Beneficial Interest in Property

    Andrew Watson, a London based divorce lawyer in our family department and Resolution accredited specialist in cohabitation, summarises the law...

    Read more