US woman fails to obtain divorce injunction
In the case of T v T the couple, both US citizens, had married in an unspecified state before relocating to London, where they were given indefinite leave to remain. They later had two children.
Before the marriage the couple had signed a premarital agreement (PMA) in the US. This included a section on reaching a financial settlement after divorce. The PMA specified that even if the couple lived in other jurisdictions, they would remain bound by the agreement which was governed by the law of a second US state. Any questions about the PMA’s validity, interpretation or enforceability were to be submitted to arbitration by a trained family lawyer within the same state.
Subsequently the couple split and the husband filed for divorce in the state governing the PMA. The wife went to the courts in London and applied for the temporary injunction to halt his petition, saying the courts in the US state had no jurisdiction.
The husband countered with an application of his own in the English courts, asserting, amongst other grounds, the arbitration clause in the premarital agreement. His lawyers nominated a particular lawyer to serve as arbitrator, but the wife claimed he did not have the right to begin the arbitration process.
The husband then sought a legal order in the US state forcing the wife to begin arbitration.
The wife’s legal team claimed that the husband was pressing ahead with his case while at the same time delaying proceedings in the UK, arguing that an injunction was necessary to preserve a “level playing field” between the parties. She also claimed that she had been pressured into agreeing to the terms of the PMA just days before the wedding had been due to take place.
The husband countered that the terms of the PMA had been carefully negotiated in the run- up to the wedding, even though they had signed it only days before the ceremony, and each party had received separate legal advice.
Nicholas Francis QC, sitting as a deputy High Court judge, dismissed the woman’s application, saying the woman had failed to establish that England was the natural venue for the proceedings or that she would be at a disadvantage if the proceedings moved forward in the US. The wife would have an opportunity to make her case as to why she should not be bound by the PMA in the US.
Share this post
Get free family law updates
Marilyn Stowe’s new book: expert advice on all aspects of divorce, from just 99p!
Divorce & Splitting Up by Marilyn Stowe is the essential how-to book for anyone who is getting divorced or splitting up from a partner. Read more >>
"A must buy that really opens your eyes to what is involved if you are considering or going through a divorce." - Amanda Brown
"This will answer your questions in a way that non-lawyers can understand." - Miss P.
"Don't get divorced without it. I read this book despite being divorced for more than 10 years. I wish I'd had this book to hand at the time. Great examples, simple to read and understand." - Jamie
"This really has helped me to see that there is light at the end of the tunnel and I will come out of it a stronger person." - J
Marilyn Stowe on SKY News & ITV This Morning
Subscribe & Follow
In the Media
Marilyn Stowe is the senior partner in Stowe Family Law, which has offices in Yorkshire, Cheshire and London. With more than 30 years’ experience handling divorce cases and family law proceedings she is regarded as one of the most formidable and sought after divorce lawyers in the UK. In 2012, Marilyn became one of the first solicitors to qualify as a family law arbitrator.
All persons mentioned in the scenarios are fictitious: details have been deliberately changed in order to protect identities and other confidential circumstances of my clients. All advice and information on this blog including posts written by guest authors, is given only as a general guide to the operation of the law on the date of publication. Readers must place no reliance whatsoever on the content of this blog and must always obtain their own legal advice. Marilyn Stowe, Stowe Family Law LLP and guest authors accept no liability whatsoever arising as a result of reliance upon its content.
Contact Stowe Family Law
These downloads accompany Marilyn Stowe's latest book: Divorce & Splitting Up: Advice From a Top Divorce Lawyer. After opening, right click to save to your computer.
For more free downloads, visit the Downloads section.