Brexit and Family Law
Let’s not beat around the bush here … the EU referendum has led to a great deal of uncertainty in general and Family Law is no exception. We’re not sure what is going to happen but we can assume that withdrawal from the European Union will have an impact on some areas of Family Law such as jurisdictional rules for divorce proceedings, spousal maintenance, and child abduction to name a few.
However, as of yet nothing has changed. Nothing is likely to change for the next two years whilst the government negotiates the terms of Brexit. Nonetheless this is an unsettling time for people who are or who are married to EU citizens. As a dual French / British national I recently attended a meeting hosted by the French Consulate and the immigration team at Kingsley Napley which was aimed at answering the questions of worried French nationals living in the UK. Although they weren’t able to provide reassurance for the future of EU citizens in the UK, they did provide some helpful ideas to help protect the position of European nationals in case the rules do change:-
- Obtain a national ID card where possible in case you need to travel whilst applying for citizenship/residence
- Collect documents as you will need original documents for any citizenship application
- Obtain private medical insurance if you are not working
- Register as a jobseeker if you lose your job to ensure this period counts towards permanent residence
- Keep a record of your absence from the UK (more than 6 months per year may prevent obtaining citizenship)
- Apply to the Home Office for proof of your status to confirm you are exercising your right of residence
- Apply for British Citizenship if you have been living here for more than six years
- Apply for British passports for children born in the UK
The best advice for the moment is ‘keep calm and carry on’. The European situation has not changed and will not change for the foreseeable future. But keep an eye on the news just in case….