Many expatriates living in the Middle East and around the world generally suffer from a great deal of misinformation regarding family law matters. People always seem quick to give an opinion, even when not qualified to give advice. Seeing a professional that is experienced and qualified to offer advise on legal matters becomes even more important to expats when there’s an international aspect to their separation. It is often difficult to find a clear answer to family law issues, with many sources of information available online and social media providing a platform for the uninformed to inform their views.

Relying upon that misinformation when making decisions about your divorce, finances, children or personal safety can be jeopardised by proceeding incorrectly, whether in the wrong country, with the wrong application or even the wrong tone. International family law issues are a niche area and finding an expert in the field can be difficult; even more so those who understand the Middle East and life for an expat living there.

Where to divorce as an expat

As a British expat in Dubai one of your first considerations when you decide to get divorced, should be where to divorce – as there may be more than once country (jurisdiction) available for you to divorce. In order to ensure the best possible outcome from the divorce, especially where children are involved, make sure to ask around, do your research and seek the help of a professional international family lawyer. Research carefully before choosing a lawyer, to ensure they have enough experience in international family law; expat divorce can be complex, and the law can change daily.

It’s important to note that British expats living abroad does not necessarily need to divorce through the local courts, and the majority do not. A divorce can take place through the English courts as a paper application without the need for either party to attend court. The financial matters arising are then governed by English law.

So, if you or your spouse are from the UK, or have links to England, then contact one of the specialist family lawyers at Expatriate Law who will advise you carefully as to whether you are entitled to divorce in England, then when required will guide you through the divorce process, assisting you to resolve financial and children matters as required.

Expatriate Law only work on international family law cases, and, almost unique amongst English family law firms, have practitioners based around the world in expatriate locations. They have decades of experience in international family law, both in terms of practising whilst based abroad and appearing before judges in England. They practise at the highest level of international family law cases, having been involved in many of the landmark principled decisions on international family law issues. They are proud to be part of a small international family law community of English lawyers, who can properly combine expertise with experience of international family law issues.

Once you have made the tough decision to get divorced, it is important to note that obtaining a divorce as an expat does not have to be difficult. Provided your spouse accepts service and cooperates with the proceedings, the process usually takes between four to six months. Expatriate Law firmly believe that making properly informed and sensible decisions at the start of family law proceedings is usually the best way of reaching an amicable resolution, founded on culturally appropriate grounds of fairness.

To find out more please visit the Expatriate Law website, email or call UAE 04 358 9444 or UK +44 203 006 1664.

Read more:

About our divorce: an open letter to my husband

How to tell your children about your divorce

What to do if you are considering divorce

10 tough questions to ask yourself when your relationship gets tough



If you would like to write for British Mums we would love to hear from you. Please email us at You can find our editorial guidelines here.

If you would like to partner with British Mums, please email