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21 September 2023
Overseas Maintenance and Financial settlements.

It is important to be aware of the legal position in relation to financial settlements where these have been implemented overseas as part of a divorce but one party then lives or works in the UK.  It is essential that advice is sought from a UK lawyer in case the order needs to be enforced in the UK if either party defaults.

Maintenance Orders

Orders made within the EU.

Prior to 30 December 2020 these would have been covered as an EU member and therefore any orders made prior to that date are enforceable.  Orders made after that date are now reliant on the Hague Convention although there are exceptions to this.

Orders made outside of the EU

These are reliant on the Hague Convention which allows parties to have maintenance orders recognized and enforced by countries outside of the EU.

If an order is recognized then it is enforceable in England and Wales in the same manner as a Judgment made in England and Wales.  This is of particular importance if one or other of the parties defaults. 

When speaking about ‘Recognition’ we are referring to the ‘Decision of approval’ on the territory of another country of a foreign order.  References to ‘Enforcement’ refer to orders of a foreign court being executable in another country.


The UK has reciprocal arrangements with over 100 countries in respect of maintenance orders (REMO - Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders).  These countries include:

  • USA,
  • Australia
  • New Zealand. 


Non REMO Countries

These include UAE, Russia, Japan to name but a few.  In these circumstances it becomes even more important for your lawyer to work closely with a UK lawyer if there is a likelihood that one or both of you are likely to be working or living in the UK in the future.

Other Orders which form part of a Financial Settlement

There are many other orders which may form part of a divorce but which may not be directly involved in maintenance payments and therefore not included within the constraints of REMO including:

  • Property

If the Order is made overseas but the property is in the UK you will need to ensure that the order will be enforceable if one of the parties defaults on the transfer or sale of the property. 

  • Pensions

In the UK Pension Sharing orders are often obtained.  Again, this is complicated if the divorce and financial orders are obtained abroad but one of the parties has a UK pension from having worked or lived in the UK previously.  UK pension companies do not automatically recognize these orders and may still require a Pensions Sharing order made by an English/Welsh court.

Again, the need for UK legal advice is essential.

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