Friday, August 30, 2013

Hong Kong: Asian Divorce Capital


Jeremy D. Morley

Forbes calls London the Top Destination for International Divorces. What they mean, of course, is that it’s often the best place for someone divorcing a wealthy spouse to bring their case. It can be the worst destination for the wealthy spouse.
What Forbes doesn’t say is that the second-place in the Divorce Tourism list for someone married to a rich spouse may well be Hong Kong.  It seems to be the best in Asia.
Hong Kong follows English law when it comes to the money side of divorce. Its courts have expressly followed the famous cases which changed English law in favor of “fairness”. These cases do not simply divide the pot” equally. Most jurisdictions do that. They decide what will go into the pot in a way that can be massively more favorable to the weaker party, and they police the matter effectively by requiring full disclosure of assets and transactions and by making it painful for spouses who don’t “fess up” to all their assets.
But these simplistic league tables can be very misleading. You can’t simply ask your travel agent to book a flight into – or out of – one of these jurisdictions.
The key question is whether the courts have jurisdiction to handle the case. In these matters parties need strategic international divorce advice.