International Family Law

Relationship breakdowns are difficult at the best of times. Add an international element to this, and it can become even more problematic. Having an experienced family law lawyer on your side ensures that you get the best solution for your situation

Straightforward and Stress Free

"I had the best experience. It was so straight forward and stress free, I can’t praise the company enough. Thank you all.”

K Smith, Family Law Services

The Short of it

  • The breakdown of a relationship

    can be one of the most difficult and stressful issues you may work through in your life.

  • If you and your spouse are from different countries or live abroad,

    this can add extra complications to an already difficult process.

  • At Watermans, our specialist family law team is experienced in handling international family law

    disputes involving overseas property and assets.

  • Everything we do at Watermans is about getting you the resolution you need

    and providing Straightforward legal advice. It should be that simple.

  • The Long of it

    International family law

    Why do I need an international family lawyer?

    People from all countries come to live and work in Scotland – and life being what it is, they often marry and have children here. Many Scottish people have moved abroad and done the same.

    If these relationships go wrong, consulting a solicitor who understands the unique situation of international families will help ensure nothing is missed and you get the best solution available – wherever that is.

    Our advice might cover asset tracing abroad, getting advice from solicitors in other countries to ensure every aspect of your case is covered, and ensuring orders made in other countries can be recognised and enforced in Scotland. It can all become pretty complicated, so you need a lawyer who will spot the pitfalls and has the experience and contacts to sort them out.

    I have assets in different countries

    What kind of problems can arise?

    If your family is international, you may have property and assets located in more than one country. Valuing and distributing these assets can be complex and needs to be coordinated by someone with the right experience and contacts.

    Sometimes court proceedings are, or can be, raised in more than one country, and you need to understand your options – this may include terminating or pausing one set of proceedings to protect your interests and save on legal fees.

    Coordinating documentation and witness evidence from more than one country is complex and you need someone with experience of doing this efficiently and effectively. This is especially important if your spouse is not forthcoming with financial information, and you need to take steps to find out what the matrimonial assets consist of.

    I live abroad

    Do I need a Scottish solicitor if I live abroad?

    If you live abroad and are involved in a family law dispute with a connection to Scotland, you may be able to access our courts to resolve it.

    This may result in a more favourable outcome and be easier to manage.

    You don’t necessarily need to have gotten married in Scotland to be able to divorce in Scotland. There are rules about this, and we can guide you through them.

    It is always worth having a chat to one of our team to find out if Scottish law can apply to your situation, and what would be involved in dealing with matters here.

    Why Watermans?

    Why choose Watermans as my international family lawyers?

    Our family law team at Watermans has the knowledge and expertise needed to advise on international family law disputes. We offer Straightforward legal advice and help you every step of the way.

    Our expert lawyers have dealt with cases connected to countries as diverse as Dubai, Spain, Pakistan, Russia, Ethiopia and Australia, including conducting court proceedings involving evidence and witnesses from overseas and working with translators and interpreters.

    We have an international network of legal and expert contacts we can access to get you the right support and advice, and the expertise to coordinate and explain that advice to formulate an overall strategy for resolving your case.

    We’re also normal people you can have a real conversation with. We don’t use legal jargon (or Latin), we give straightforward advice, and we won’t judge or patronise you. Coming from a range of backgrounds and with our own life experiences to draw on, we understand and empathise with how stressful family disputes can be. We know how important it is to trust your lawyer and that you need to know we’re in your corner. Our aim is to work in partnership with you to help resolve things quickly and cost-effectively so you can move forward with your life.


    Your first meeting with us

    What can I expect from my first meeting with Watermans?

    It’s normal to be a bit nervous before your first meeting with a family lawyer – and even if you feel confident, it doesn’t do any harm to know what to expect.

    The process starts when you first get in touch. We can normally offer a fixed fee for an initial consultation with one of our specialist family lawyers, payable on the day of the meeting. We will agree this fee with you before we go any further. We will also need to check that we haven’t acted for anyone else involved in the dispute (they won’t know we have done this).

    If that’s all OK, we will then send you a link to a secure online verification system to carry out some compliance checks required by law. We will also ask you to fill out a short questionnaire collecting basic information such as the dates of separation. This saves time during our meeting and means we can get straight to the point.

    If you’re being taken to court, we’ll usually ask you to scan the court papers over to us in advance. You may have received a solicitors’ letter and if so, it helps if we can see this beforehand too.

    It’s a good idea to think through beforehand what questions you have and what you want to achieve from the meeting. For example, if you are separating, do you have any thoughts about how you’d like to resolve issues about your children or the house? What would a good outcome look like to you? What are your priorities? It’s OK if you don’t have answers yet, but it’s worth starting to reflect on this.

    The meeting itself will be over secure video link or in person, with one of our specialist family lawyers. It’s unlikely we can resolve everything in a single session, but our goal is for you to come away knowing how the law applies to your situation, the options for sorting things out, and roughly what that might cost in legal fees. You can then make informed decisions about what to do next.

    Please do not worry about getting emotional or not knowing exactly what to say. Family disputes are very personal, and many people find it upsetting to talk about them. We understand and we won’t judge. And just to be clear, everything you tell us is completely confidential.

    What happens after the meeting is up to you. We won’t take any action in your case or contact anyone else involved unless you tell us to do so.

    If you have any questions about consulting a family lawyer or want to discuss a first meeting, please get in touch.

    Get in touch with us

    Everything we do at Watermans is about getting you the resolution you need and making that process straightforward. Start the process by sending us your details below or calling us on 0131 555 7055

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    Our Family Law expert

    “People often say to me that family law must be a depressing job – but I’ve never felt that. What we do makes a difference. I love working with my clients to understand their stories, help them work out where they want to get to, and collaborate with them to achieve their goals. Seeing people come through it and embark on a new stage of their lives is a great feeling.”

    Dianne Millen, Head of Family Law