JURISDICTION AROUND THE WORLD
A review of the jurisdictional rules that apply in countries
around the world. This review is provided for guidance only.
AUSTRALIA Australian courts have jurisdiction if either party (1)
is an Australian citizen or (2) is domiciled in Australia or (3) has
been ordinarily resident in Australia for at least one year.
AUSTRIA Austrian courts have jurisdiction if (1) either party is
an Austrian citizen or (2) both parties are aliens but one party
permanently resides in Austria (provided courts in husband’s home
country will recognize the decree) or (3) at least one spouse has no
citizenship of any country but permanently resides in Austria.
BELGIUM Belgian courts have jurisdiction if (1) the plaintiff is
a national of Belgium or (2) the matrimonial home is in Belgium or
defendant’s domicile is in Belgium.
BERMUDA Bermuda courts have jurisdiction if either party (1) is
domiciled in Bermuda or (2) was ordinarily resident in Bermuda for
one year before filing.
BULGARIA Bulgarian courts have “exclusive jurisdiction” if either
party is a Bulgarian citizen.
CANADA A Canadian court in a specific Canadian province has
jurisdiction in a divorce proceeding if one spouse has been
ordinarily resident in that province for one year before filing.
CHILE Chilean courts have jurisdiction if Chile is the
defendant’s domicile. The wife’s domicile is the same as the
husband’s while he lives in Chile.
COSTA RICA Costa Rica courts have jurisdiction if the parties are
domiciled in Costa Rica.
CZECH REPUBLIC Divorce court in place of last common domicile has
jurisdiction. If neither spouse is a Czech citizen a Czech court has
jurisdiction if (1) at least one spouse resides in the Czech
Republic and the decision of the court would be recognised in the
courts of the state of common nationality or (2) at least one spouse
has resided in the Czech Republic for at least 180 days.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC Dominican Republic court has jurisdiction if
defendant resides and is domiciled in the Dominican Republic or if
plaintiff resides in the Dominican Republic. Domicile is considered
to be bona fide residence in the Dom. Rep.
ECUADOR Ecuador courts have jurisdiction if the parties have a
bona fide domicile is required. No length of residency is specified
to acquire domicile.
EL SALVADOR El Salvador courts have jurisdiction if the conjugal
domicile is in El Salvador. No particular length of residency is
ENGLAND Courts in England & Wales have jurisdiction if either
spouse (1) is domiciled in England or Wales or (2) has been
habitually resident in England & Wales for one year prior to
FINLAND Finnish courts have jurisdiction if (1) parties are both
Finnish citizens or (2) plaintiff is a Finnish citizen and is or
previously was domiciled in Finland or (3) plaintiff has been
domiciled in Finland for the past two years or (4) defendant is
domiciled in Finland.
GERMANY German courts have personal jurisdiction if (1) one
spouse is German or (2) the wife at the time of marriage was German
or (3) if both spouses are aliens, at least one of them resides in
Germany , provided that a divorce decree will be recognized by laws
governing the husband.
GIBRALTAR Gibraltar courts have jurisdiction if either party (1)
is domiciled in Gibraltar or (2) was habitually resident in
Gibraltar for one year prior to the filing.
GREECE Greek courts have jurisdiction if (1) defendant is
domiciled in Greece, or (2) either party is a Greek national or (3)
both parties are Greek residents. Greek courts have no jurisdiction
if according to the law of the nationality of both spouses such
jurisdiction is not recognized.
HONDURAS Honduras courts have jurisdiction if the parties’ bona
fide domicile is in Honduras.
HONG KONG Hong Kong courts have jurisdiction if either party (1)
is domiciled in Hong Kong or (2) has habitually lived in Hong Kong
for three years immediately prior to the filing.
MEXICO Competent court is the court of the matrimonial domicile
or, in case of abandonment, the domicile of the abandoned party.
Domicile implies permanent rather than temporary residence.
NETHERLANDS Dutch courts have jurisdiction if, at time of filing,
(1) both parties are Dutch nationals, or (2) either party has had
permanent residence in Netherlands for 12 months or Dutch party for
NEW ZEALAND New Zealand courts have jurisdiction if either party
is domiciled in New Zealand.
NICARAGUA The court of the conjugal domicile has jurisdiction.
NORWAY Norwegian courts have jurisdiction if (1) the defendant is
domiciled in Norway or (2) only the plaintiff is domiciled in
Norway, provided that Norway was the parties’ last conjugal
PAKISTAN If one party is Christian, Pakistani courts have
jurisdiction only if both parties are domiciled in Pakistan and the
petitioner is resident in Pakistan.
PANAMA To obtain a divorce in Panama it is necessary to be
domiciled in Panama. To acquire domicile, foreigners must comply
with immigration laws and obtain necessary authorization from the
Ministry of Government and Justice.
SINGAPORE Singapore courts have jurisdiction if either party (1)
is domiciled in Singapore or (2) has been habitually resident in
Singapore for three years prior to filing.
SOUTH AFRICA South African courts have jurisdiction if (1) the
parties are domiciled in South Africa (the domicile of married
persons means the domicile of the husband), or (2) the wife is the
plaintiff and has been ordinarily resident in South Africa for one
year prior to the filing and is domiciled in South Africa or was
domiciled in South Africa immediately before cohabitation with
husband ceased or was a South African citizen or domiciled in South
Africa immediately before the marriage.
SPAIN Spanish courts have jurisdiction if (1) both spouses have
Spanish nationality, or (2) both spouses are residents of Spain, or
(3) plaintiff is a Spanish citizen and a resident of Spain, or (4)
defendant is a resident of Spain.
SWEDEN Swedish courts have jurisdiction if the defendant is
domiciled in Sweden or if the plaintiff has been domiciled in Sweden
for at last one year.
TAIWAN Court in the Republic of China will generally assume
jurisdiction if parties are nationals of R.O.C. or if husband is
domiciled in R.O.C. There are no requirements as to length of
residence necessary after domicile is acquired and intention is the
determining factor to determine domicile.
TURKEY Court at plaintiff’s domicile has jurisdiction.