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30 JUL 2013

DIVORCE/JURISDICTION: Sekhri v Ray [2013] EWHC 2290 (Fam)

(Family Division, Holman J, 23 July 2013)

The husband and wife were married for 2 years and had a son together. During the marriage they relocated to Singapore but the marriage deteriorated. when the wife wrongfully removed the child to England the couple separated and she issued divorce proceedings in England. To date they had spent £860,000 on legal fees in England, Singapore and India and had combined wealth of approximately £4m. The judge described the process as financial suicide.

The wife, whose domicile of origin was Indian, claimed that while she and the husband were habitually resident in Singapore at the time she issued proceedings, she claimed to have adopted an English domicile of choice. While the husband submitted that in leaving England she had abandoned her domicile of choice and her domicile of origin reverted.

A number of factors indicated that the wife had not lost her domicile of choice: both she and the husband retained properties in England; the wife maintained her professional connections and subscriptions including to a medical job vacancy service which reinforced her contention that she always planned to return to England to take up a consultancy position. The judge accepted the wife's strongly asserted position that the move to Singapore had been time limited and she planned to resume her career and residence in England. Despite his Indian ancestry the husband had been born in England and considered himself to be domiciled here. The court, therefore, had jurisdiction to proceed the divorce petition to decree nisi.


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