Expatriate Law (Asia) Pte. Ltd provide English divorce and family law advice to British expats and families with links to England who are living in Singapore and across South East Asia.
Sonny is a qualified solicitor with 14 years post-qualification experience. He holds a practising certificate from the Law Society of England and Wales. Post-qualification, he spent his first 8 years working in central London law firms. He lived and worked in Dubai from 2014 to 2016.
Sonny is now based in the Singapore office of Expatriate Law where he acts for British expatriates and conducts their family proceedings through the English courts.
Sonny is a solutions-driven negotiator and is highly motivated by a desire to help his clients emerge from the legal process with their finances and their dignity intact – particularly where there are children involved. However, if reasonable agreement cannot be reached, Sonny has extensive experience of conducting litigation in the London Courts.
Divorce in England and Wales
Sonny specialises in international divorce and family law, acting for British expats worldwide and conducting their family proceedings through the English courts.
Sonny has extensive experience dealing with the following matters:
- High net worth divorce
- Jurisdiction/choice of forum
- Financial provision after overseas divorce
- Cross-border enforcement of financial orders
- Negotiating and drafting multiple jurisdiction prenuptial postnuptial and separation agreements
- The relocation of children across international borders
Negotiating and drafting multiple jurisdiction pre-nuptial, post-nuptial and separation agreements.
Media & Publications
- Divorce for British Expats in Singapore
- Freezing Orders within English Divorce Proceedings
- Brexit and the Sole Domicile Restriction on Maintenance Claims
- Lawyer Feature: Sonny Patel, Partner of Expatriate Law (Asia)
- A Day in the Life of Sonny Patel
A reported case which discusses when the English court will have jurisdiction to determine children proceedings where the child is not habitually resident in an EU Member State.
For British expats worldwide, divorce and the financial matters arising can be dealt with through the English courts. This is because proceedings can usually be issued in England based on the parties’ “domicile of origin” even for those who have lived abroad for years. However, the fact that an English court has jurisdiction to dissolve a marriage and make decisions in respect of the financial aspects of a divorce, does not automatically mean that the same court will make decisions in respect of children matters that might be in dispute.
The two primary sources of reference in relation to the jurisdiction of the court to make private law children orders are the Family Law Act 1986 (“FLA 1986”) and Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 of 27 November 2003 concerning jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters and the matters of parental responsibility, repealing Regulation (EC) No 1347/2000) (“Brussels II bis”).
The FLA 1986 was amended to accommodate the changes relating to children effected by the Brussels II bis. The council regulation provisions were effectively grafted on to FLA 1986
The starting point is that if a child is not habitually resident in England and Wales the English court has no general jurisdiction in respect of that child.
Brussels II bis introduces the possibility to seise a court of an EU Member State in which the child is not habitually resident, either because the matter is connected with a pending divorce proceeding, or because the child has a substantial connection with that Member State.
In both scenarios the jurisdiction of the courts to rule on matters pertaining to the exercise of parental responsibility must be accepted expressly or otherwise in an unequivocal manner by the spouses and by the holders of parental responsibility, at the time the court is seised, and it must be deemed to be in the superior interests of the child to do so.
The option to elect the English courts “remotely” to make decisions in respect of children who are habitually resident abroad is known as the “prorogation of jurisdiction”.
Services & Fees
Sonny offers initial free telephone consultations.
To set up a call with Sonny, please email email@example.com with details of:
- The nationalities and place of residence of both parties and the children (if any);
- Location of assets;
- A list of key questions and areas of concern.
Fixed fee divorce:
The costs of an undefended English divorce (i.e. from initial Petition to Decree Absolute) is fixed at £1,500 (SGD$2,600). The fixed fee does not include the Court fee of £550 or other disbursements that may be required such as translations, couriers or process servers.
Hourly rate finances:
It is very difficult to estimate the likely overall costs of legal representation for handling the financial matters that must be addressed on divorce. The complexity and volume of work required can vary wildly depending on the facts and circumstances.
Some separating couples are able to reach early agreement with minimal input from lawyers, in which case the lawyer’s role is limited to drafting and implementation.
At the other end of the spectrum, some cases can take years and involve extensive financial disclosure, multiple court hearings in 2 or more countries, property and business valuations, expert reports, interim hearings and satellite litigation.
We are transparent about costs. We prepare monthly invoices and all billable time spent on your file is itemised so that you can see exactly how fees are being incurred and so that you can keep track of your expenses.
The essential principle to be kept in mind at all times is that costs incurred must always remain proportionate to the amounts in dispute.