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Navigating the Complexities of International Divorce

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Navigating the Complexities of International Divorce

Navigating the Complexities of International Divorce

International Divorce Law and International Divorce Attorneys

International Divorce 

An international divorce refers to a divorce case where one or both parties are residents of different countries or the couple is married in one country but resides in another. It can also refer to a case where the couple holds assets in multiple countries.

These types of divorce cases can be complex, as they involve navigating the legal system of different countries and may also involve issues such as jurisdiction, child custody, and the division of assets.

Navigating Complexities in International Divorce Cases

International divorce cases can be complex due to several factors. These include:


One of the main complexities is determining jurisdiction. In an international divorce, it is not always clear which country’s court has the authority to hear the case.

The laws and regulations of different countries can vary greatly, and it can be challenging to determine which law applies to the case.

Additionally, it can also be difficult to decide which country’s court has jurisdiction over the assets involved in the divorce.

Navigating Legal Systems

Another complexity of international divorce cases is navigating the legal system of different countries.

In some countries, the divorce process is quick and straightforward, while in others, it can be long and complicated.

This can make it challenging for both parties to understand the process and the legal requirements you must meet.

Cultural and Linguistic Differences

Cultural and linguistic differences can also add to the complexity of an international divorce case.

For example, suppose one spouse is from a different culture or speaks a foreign language.

In that case, they need help understanding the legal process and communicating effectively with the court.

Child Custody and Support

Child custody and support can also be a complex issue in international divorce cases.

The laws regarding child custody and support can vary significantly from country to country, making it difficult to determine which law applies.

Additionally, suppose one parent wants to move to a different country with the child.

In that case, navigating the legal process and coming to a fair and reasonable agreement can be challenging.

Financial Complexities

Finally, financial complexities can also arise in international divorce cases.

For example, if the couple has assets in multiple countries, it can be challenging to determine how they should be divided and which country’s laws should be applied.

Furthermore, enforcing financial agreements and court orders can be challenging as different countries possess their own laws and regulations related to the enforcement of financial agreements.

This can make it challenging to ensure that both parties receive a fair and just distribution of assets.

Given these complexities, it’s vital to seek the help of a specialized attorney with knowledge and experience in international divorce cases. They can help navigate the legal system and ensure that the best possible outcome is achieved for the client.

South Africans leaving the country

The number of emigrants from South Africa in 2020 by country of destination. Published by Statista Research Department, 16 December 2022

The number of emigrants from South Africa in 2020 by country of destination

Businesstech reports that there has been a 37.5% rise in the number of South Africans entering Canada before the Covid-19 global pandemic in 2020.

Expat Divorce: South African Parties Seek to Dissolve their marriage while both Reside in Dubai.

The husband and wife were both citizens The South African case V v V (5881/17) [2017] ZAGPPHC 324, decided on 6 July 2017, deals with the divorce of two South African residents living in Dubai.

The Move to Dubai

The parties moved to Dubai after an armed robbery, where the husband found a job as a pilot.

Approximately eight or nine years after, the wife initiated divorce proceedings in the Gauteng Division of the High Court of South Africa located in Pretoria.

Jurisdiction Dispute

The husband, however, filed for divorce in Dubai and claimed that the Pretoria High Court had no authority as the parties were not residing within its jurisdiction. In response, the wife asked the Pretoria High Court to prevent the husband from continuing the divorce proceedings in Dubai.


The judge concluded that the Pretoria High Court had jurisdiction in the divorce proceedings between the parties and issued an interdict against the husband to refrain him from proceeding with the divorce action in Dubai. 

International Divorce Traveling the World by Plane

Understanding Domicile in South African Law

Determining Private Legal Status

In South Africa, a person’s private legal status is determined by the laws of the country or place where they are domiciled, known as the lex domicilii.

Jurisdiction in Divorce Cases

A South African court has the authority to grant a divorce if either one or both parties of the marriage are domiciled within the court’s jurisdiction at the time when the divorce proceedings are initiated.

Importance of Domicile

A person’s domicile plays a significant role in determining their legal capacities and rights.

It is worth mentioning that being physically present within the jurisdiction is not a requirement for having a domicile there.

Domicile as Permanent Home

It is not possible for an individual to have multiple domiciles simultaneously.

Domicile is generally considered to be a person’s permanent home and can be different from the place of actual residence.

In conclusion, navigating the legal complexities of an international divorce can be challenging, especially for those living abroad or with one partner residing overseas.

In these cases, it is essential to seek the guidance and expertise of international divorce attorneys like Martin Vermaak.

These attorneys are particularly experienced in advising clients on choosing the right jurisdiction quickly to secure an advantage where a choice is available.

They understand cross-border issues and the sensitivities that often arise in this area.

They will ensure you are armed with all the relevant legal information and that you understand the practical implications of divorce in a particular jurisdiction to make an informed choice.

They work with foreign lawyers and other professionals to obtain the best results for you and your family.

Martin Vermaak International Divorce Attorneys

At Martin Vermaak Attorneys, we have experience in handling international divorce cases involving countries such as the UK, other European countries, the USA International Divorce, and Africa.

We understand the unique challenges of these cases and are equipped to guide our clients through the process. We work with a network of foreign lawyers and other professionals to ensure that our clients receive the best possible outcome most efficiently.

Read More: 

Do I need an International Will?

The Challenges of Divorcing High-Net-Worth Individuals

The Divorce Process in South Africa

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