Family Law Hub

No Deal Brexit & Family Law: FCO and MoJ guidance published

Short guidance note covers divorce, children, maintenance and child abduction

  • The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Justice have issued joint guidance on how family law will be affected if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. 

    Written primarily for individuals who are divorcing or who have separated and are going through the EU courts or have an EU connection, the guidance sets out what they should do in the event that the UK leaves without any transition period. 

    In short the advice is speak to a lawyer and, in the case of child abduction, speak to a local lawyer in the relevant jurisdiction. A longer summary is below 


    • If applying for divorce after 29 March 2019, new rules will be in place but aplications are made in the same way. 
    • If the case is ongoing on 29 March 2019 it will continue under current rules. 

    Matters relating to children (parental responsibility) 

    • Those starting a case about child arrangements after 29 March 2019, the new rules will be in place but you should apply in the same way. 
    • Cases where child arrangements are under an ongoing dispute in an EU court or needs to have judgments accepted and put into action in an EU country after 29 March 2019, may need to be handled in a different court or under a different procedure 
    • Settled child arrangement cases should not be affected unless further applications are made in which case the applications may need to be made to a different court 


    • ongoing cases about maintenance payments for a child or husband/wife in England, Wales or an EU country on 29 March 2019 will continue unchanged.
    • new or further applications after 29 March 2019 may need to be made to a different court or under a different process. 
    • where there is a child maintenance decision which the litigant wants to have recognised and enforced in an EU country after 29 March 2019, the advice is to contact the Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders (REMO) unit 

    International parental child abduction 

    • After 29 March 2019, whether the UK leaves the EU with a deal or not, the rules about abduction or wrongfully retained children in EU countries will mostly not change. 

    The full guidance can be found on the website

News, published: 06/02/2019


Published: 06/02/2019


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