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Implications Of Marital Collapse While Living Abroad

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Married to a successful wheeler-dealer?  Does he or she have an opportunity to work abroad?  

Well, after a recent High Court ruling, you might want to reconsider any plans to accompany him or her overseas...

The reports British national Sara Pell cannot divorce her husband Duncan in the UK because the couple were living abroad at the time their marriage collapsed.

The couple married in Britain in 1991.  Mr. Pell worked for British Steel and as his career took off worked at numerous steel plants around the country, while Mrs. Pell focused on raising their two daughters in Wales.

In 2000, British Steel merged with Corus and the firm transferred Mr. Pell and his family to Holland.  Eventually Mr. Pell became a commercial director of the company and, in 2002, the family moved to France.

In 2006, he left Corus with - according to the  - a £350,000 pay-off, £120,000 worth of share options, and a £1.2 million pension.

His marriage with Mrs. Pell, however, began to disintegrate.  She finally called time on the relationship after she learned of an affair with a 28-year-old Ukrainian woman.

Mrs. Pell, 44, promptly filed for divorce in the UK and Mr. Pell, 56, counter-claimed in France, arguing the .

After the High Court delivered its judgment, Mrs. Pell's solicitors' issued the following statement:

"The implications of the split are already becoming real for Mrs. Pell, who now has to claim state support, is living in rented accommodation and has taken their children [aged 12 and 15] out of private school.

"Mrs. Pell ... devoted her life to her husband, regularly moving around the country and Europe to support his career.

"The High Court ruling means Mrs. Pell and her children are likely to receive a much lower share of the assets than she would have otherwise been awarded if the divorce took place in Britain."

The  explains "French divorce settlements are traditionally far less generous than those awarded by the British courts" and Mrs. Pell "stands to receive a far smaller share of her husband's estate than she would if the case was heard in the UK."

Brookmans want a to allow an estranged partner to make a claim for a share of their spouse's British pension even if the divorce takes place overseas.

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