What happens to our property overseas in a divorce?
One of the issues that crop up during a divorce is the division of matrimonial assets. The definition of “matrimonial assets” can be found in Section 112(10) of the Women’s Charter as follows:
(a) any asset acquired before the marriage by one party or both parties to the marriage —
(i) ordinarily used or enjoyed by both parties or one or more of their children while the parties are residing together for shelter or transportation or for household, education, recreational, social or aesthetic purposes; or
(ii) which has been substantially improved during the marriage by the other party or by both parties to the marriage; and
(b) any other asset of any nature acquired during the marriage by one party or both parties to the marriage,
The same principles apply to assets overseas, which can include the parties’ matrimonial home overseas and other property such as car, jewellery, shares and savings that are held in a foreign country. Once the Court has ascertained that the property overseas should be considered as a “matrimonial asset” and included in the pool of assets to be divided, the Court will then determine the appropriate proportions in which the division should take place according to the factors listed in Section 112(2) of the Women’s Charter.