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Divorce and intra-UK jurisdiction disputes

Amy Scollan discusses the contrast between English and Scottish law on matrimonial settlements

17 July 2017

As a family solicitor, it doesn’t take very long until you find yourself dealing with an intra-UK jurisdiction dispute. They are more common than may be thought. This is because there are financial advantages to be had by securing one jurisdiction within the UK over another. In my experience, the most common intra-UK disputes are between spouses trying to secure Scottish law over English law, or vice versa.

In English law, the matrimonial courts have a very broad discretion to award maintenance for such a sum and term as is considered fair. The award of maintenance must aim to assist the recipient on the road to independent living. That said, the matrimonial courts quite commonly find that financial independence is impossible to achieve, especially when dealing with spouses who are aged 50 plus, who have not worked during the marriage. In such cases, a joint lives maintenance order will be made. In contrast...

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