This is a question that marketing gurus ask so as to illustrate the benefits of sensible planning in business.
In my area -- international family law -- it raises these questions:
• Do you think it’s better to wait until you’re served with divorce papers before running to a lawyer in a panic?
• Or would be better to plan in advance?
• If you and/or your spouse are internationally connected, would it be best to wait until your relationship has exploded to find out whether your case can and should be brought in another jurisdiction?
• Or would it better to know the international choices that you have at a time when you can still influence the results?
The answers to the questions are pretty obvious.
It’s better to ask your international family lawyer to do some Strategic International Divorce Planning than to wait until a crisis erupts.
This is exactly what any divorce lawyer does in a conventional divorce situation but the strategic international lawyer will pay particular attention to any connections that the family has with other countries, to assets that are located overseas and to the possibility of moving assets or family to other jurisdictions.
Divorce lawyers can easily make a bad situation very much worse. They must be extremely sensitive to a client’s real needs and desires. For example, there is no point in advising a client to move his assets into an offshore trust if that will destroy a relationship with his soon-to-be ex or drive an inappropriate wedge between him and other members of his family. Is the client prepared to move lock, stock and barrel to a new country for a few years? Does he believe that his wife will join him there? How about the children?
The strategic international lawyer will prepare an initial analysis of the most obvious possible jurisdictions, including jurisdiction of the current residency, the other jurisdictions with which the client or his spouse have substantial connections and any other jurisdictions that the client is interested in, recognizing that if a particular jurisdiction is chosen the client may well need to move there for a substantial period of time and may also be well advised to take others in his family there, as well.
We will then usually consult with counsel in those jurisdictions that seem to hold the most promise.
We must analyze, separately for each “target jurisdiction”:
Jurisdictions around the world vary enormously in their treatment of children upon a divorce.
Having provided the client with the necessary information concerning each such jurisdiction, the client decides on a strategy.
Our advice is frequently required to assist with the implementation of the strategy so as to: