Crisp and Co. Banner Image


International Family Law

It is increasingly common for British families to involve one or more partner with connections to another country. This might involve where a couple have relocated or where a UK citizen has married a non-UK national.

While this does not usually result in any significant legal issues during a relationship, there can be some specific issues that will need to be accounted for if your relationship ends. This can be particularly true if you have children together and one parent wishes to take those children abroad.

At Crisp & Co, our international family lawyers are highly experienced in advising people on all of the various legal and practical issues involved in international family law. We can provide friendly, expert advice to help cut through any confusion and enable you to navigate any complex issues without unnecessary conflict.

Whether you are facing divorce, need advice with any issues involved with taking children abroad, or are looking for assistance with any other issues related to international family law, we will be happy to discuss your options with you.

No matter which type of international family law issues you are facing, we can assist you.

For help with any aspect of international family law, please get in touch with our specialist family solicitors in London and across the South East now for friendly, practical advice.

You can call us on 020 8003 4192 or contact your local Crisp & Co office.

International family law legal services


If married in the UK and both you and your spouse still live in the UK, there are often no special considerations, and you can move forward with your divorce like any other British couples.

However, if you married abroad or you or your spouse no longer live in the UK, there are a number of international family law issues you may need to address. Often the most critical of these is where to start divorce proceedings.

To learn more about how we can help please get in touch with our international divorce solicitors.

Where to get divorced

Because different countries have different laws around divorce, where the proceedings are initiated can sometimes affect how your divorce progresses. It is therefore important to take expert legal advice as soon as possible when you realise your marriage is over to avoid any disadvantage to you if your spouse pre-empts you by starting divorce proceedings in another country.

Divorce proceedings

The exact process for a divorce will depend on the country in which proceedings are issued. We will be happy to advise you on how this is likely to impact your particular circumstances, which can often be a key factor in deciding where to initiate divorce proceedings.

Our international family law solicitors can provide all of the information that you require on jurisdiction, supporting you to decide which country to initiate your divorce proceedings in, and what your options are.

Divorce and financial arrangements

Making a financial settlement for your divorce can sometimes be more complicated where there are international considerations. This is particularly likely to be true if your former spouse has significant assets abroad, such as property, shares or business interests.

Our international family lawyers have strong experience with helping families to deal with divorce settlements, so can advise you on the various options and how we can help you to ensure you achieve a fair settlement.

Working with expert solicitors is the best way to navigate international family law issues swiftly, easing the stress for you and your family.

For more information, please take a look at our divorce services.


Where British families have connections to another country, these families may potentially require specialist legal support when it comes to their children.

Our international family solicitors at Crisp & Co can provide support with all matters that you may require assistance with, including:

  • Negotiating and making arrangements for visitation and custody rights, for instance where one parent lives abroad
  • Legal support where child abduction has occurred, or there is a potential risk of child abduction (where one parent takes their child overseas without first having the permission of the other)
  • Assisting families to arrange the financial aspects of their child’s upbringing, for instance child maintenance

To learn more about international family law, including how we can help with child law matters, please get in touch.


Where you need to make legal arrangements for your family, for instance, arrangements in the aftermath of a divorce, our expert solicitors at Crisp & Co can assist you.

With the support of an impartial mediator, you have the opportunity to make arrangements for your finances, and/or children, and any other international family law matters, without needing to attend Court.

For more information about international law and mediation options, please get in touch with our expert international lawyers.


At Crisp & Co, we can support you with a wide range of international adoption matters, including:

  • Adopting a child from overseas, such as those who do not have suitable guardians or parents
  • Adopting your spouse’s or partners’ child from overseas
  • Adopting a child from overseas relatives

Our international family lawyers have much experience supporting clients with adoption matters, if you have any questions, please contact our friendly team.

Common questions about international family law


What is international family law?

International family law is a type of family law that handles any issues related to families that reside in, or have connections to, different countries. International family law covers areas such as adoption, child custody, marriage, divorce and related financial arrangements.

If you need support with any of the above areas, our specialist family law solicitors can assist you.

Can you take your children abroad after a divorce?

To take a child abroad, you need the permission of everyone with parental responsibility for the child. This applies whether you are going abroad permanently or just for a holiday. Failure to obtain consent from everyone with parental responsibility before taking a child abroad could see you charged with child abduction, which is a serious criminal offence.

Due to matters like these, families with international connections can often benefit from expert international law advice. Our international children solicitors are able to provide all of the help and information that you will need.

Understanding parental responsibility

Who has parental responsibility will depend on the circumstances. A child’s birth mother will automatically have parental responsibility, unless the child has been adopted or taken into care. Whether a father has parental responsibility will depend on various factors, such as whether they were married to the mother at the time of the birth or named on the birth certificate.

If you would like to find out more about parental responsibility, and international family law in the UK.

Read more about who has parental responsibility for a child.

Proof of parental consent when taking a child abroad

You will normally need a letter from the child’s other parent giving consent before taking a child abroad. This will need to include the contact details from the other parent. It is also usually a good idea to have your child’s birth certification (or a copy) and your divorce certificate.

If you have any questions or concerns, our international children solicitors would be more than happy to address these.

Applying to a court for permission to take a child abroad

If your child’s other parent refuses permission for you to take your child abroad, you will need to apply to a court for permission. As part of your application, you will need to provide details of the trip such as when it is happening and how you are travelling.

If your spouse continues to object, you may need to attend a court hearing to be granted permission to take your child abroad. If the court grants permission, they will issue a court order and you will need proof of this when taking your child abroad.

As matters such as these can be complicated, working with an international law firm is well advised.

Preventing your child from being taken abroad

If you wish to prevent your former partner from taking your child abroad, you should first discuss this with them wherever possible and try to reach an agreement over how to move forward.

If you are concerned that your former partner intends to take your child abroad permanently without your permission, or for reasons such as a forced marriage that could affect your child’s welfare, you can take legal action to stop your child being taken out of the UK.

We can assist in applying for a Prohibited Steps Order, which will prevent your child being taken abroad and can be put in place quickly if required.

For more advice on Prohibited Steps Orders and international family law, please get in touch.

How does child maintenance work if one parent lives abroad?

Where one parent lives abroad, the area of child maintenance can be somewhat complicated, and not everyone will be eligible to receive it.

Receiving child maintenance is dependent on a variety of factors, including whether or not the parent living abroad lives in a ‘Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders’ (REMO) country.

Where this is the case, you will need to get in touch with the Maintenance Enforcement Business Centre, who will proceed to check your eligibility. If you are able to receive child maintenance, they will provide you with instructions on how to make an application.

If your family have international connections, and you would like to discuss child maintenance matters, please contact our international lawyers today.

Crisp & Co’s specialist family lawyers have strong expertise with international family law, regularly helping clients to navigate complex issues including divorce and taking children abroad following separation or divorce.

No matter how complex the matters involved, we believe in taking a non-confrontational approach wherever possible. In our experience, this produces better outcomes for everyone involved, especially children.

Our team includes trained mediators and collaborative lawyers, who can assist you with resolving any contentious issues, including making a divorce settlement or arrangements for children.

We are accredited by the Law Society for Family Law Advanced, reflecting our expertise in this area, and our divorce lawyers are members of Resolution, a group of family lawyers committed to removing the conflict from family law.

However, we accept that not all international family law matters can be resolved amicably, with court proceedings sometimes being unavoidable. As a result, our team also has strong experience with handling family law matters through the courts, enabling us to offer the clear, swift and effective advice and representation you need no matter what action is required to protect your interests and those of your loved ones.

Get in touch with our international family law solicitors in London & South East England

For clear, friendly, practical guidance on all matters related to international family law, please contact our specialist family solicitors in London and across the South East now by calling 020 8003 4192 or contacting your local Crisp & Co office.