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London is global capital for ‘divorce tourism’

Solicitors in London

London is global capital for ‘divorce tourism’

News article published on: 20th June 2012

London has become the global capital for divorce, with approximately a sixth of all divorce proceedings involving foreign nationals.

Statistics gathered by The Times newspaper found that 24,000 of the 154,000 divorces in England and Wales each year involve foreign nationals.

The Times also reported that it is the number of generous payouts obtained through the divorce courts in London which has given rise to the number of potential divorcees who move to the UK prior to divorce proceedings, so they can qualify to use the court system.

Lisa Pepper, partner in the family law department at Osbornes Solicitors andspecialist divorce lawyer comments:

“The figures testify that there has clearly been an increase in the number of foreign nationals divorcing in the UK, this is due to the increase in popularity of living in London, however is also a consequence of the British courts being generous to wives in terms of a payout and maintenance awards”

Lisa explains that in order to qualify to divorce in the British courts the petitioner has to be habitually resident in the UK for one year prior to starting divorce proceedings.

There are limitations on what can be ordered through the English court system – any foreign owned property for example is not under the jurisdiction of the English courts so the judge cannot make orders with regards to overseas assets, unless the other party is in agreement. If an agreement cannot be reached between you regarding the foreign assets then this would have to be dealt with by a lawyer in the relevant country.

Last year the Brazilian wife of wealthy Greek shipping magnate Pyross Vardinoyannis, Elizabeth Vardinoyannis, successfully began divorce proceedings against her husband in the UK despite living in Los Angeles, Sao Paulo and Milan. Mr Vardinoyannis disputed the claim by his wife that that she had been resident in the UK for 12 months. The High Court however ruled in favour of Ms Vardinoyannis commenting that ‘moving around was a feature of the family’s lifestyle – perhaos an example of why London is the capital of divorce tourists!


Lisa Pepper is a Partner at Osbornes, a qualified Collaborative Lawyer and a Resolution Accredited Specialist. She is also a Director of Resolution which is an organisation of over 6,000 lawyers and family justice professionals who believe in a constructive, non confrontational approach to family law matters.

Lisa can be contacted by:

The family department at Osbornes is recommended and ranked by independent legal directories Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners.  Our specialist family lawyers in London advise on all aspects of family lawincluding divorce law.

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