The extra-ordinarily wealthy Laura Ashley boss and his beauty queen wife are reported to be going through a hostile divorce.
Khoo Kay Peng, who owns 44% of Laura Ashley Plc, and Pauline Chai, who was crowned Miss Malaysia in 1969, have been involved in a bitter divorce for more than two years. Mr Peng lives in Kuala Lumpur and Mrs Chai lives in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire.
The pair is fighting over which country the divorce proceedings should be heard in. Mr Peng believes the divorce proceedings should take place in Malaysia whereas Mrs Chai believes that they should take place in England.
As people travel and move from country to country with growing ease, it is not perhaps surprising that the numbers of international divorces are on the rise. Depending on how long you have lived in a country, and where the main financial assets are you may have a choice about where the divorce proceedings take place.
Where there is more than one choice of legal jurisdiction, it is very important that you take specialist legal advice to find out the benefits and disadvantages of starting proceedings in each country. For example, some countries do not have the same powers as English courts to make orders for spousal or child maintenance. Others may not have powers to share pensions. The different approaches to the division of finances following divorce could have a huge impact on the level of financial settlement you receive.
If you think that there may be a choice of country in which to start your divorce proceedings, it is very important that you take specialist legal advice. At Slater and Gordon, we specialise in international divorces and have one of the largest teams of Family Solicitors in the country.
Naomi Rainey is an Associate Solicitor in family law at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Manchester.
Contact us on 0808 175 8000 for help or alternatively you can contact us online.