The court have recently ruled in the divorce of Juergen and Clarissa Pierburg following the end of their 32 year marriage.
Mr Pierburg said the couple were resident in Germany, and therefore it was the German courts that held the relevant jurisdiction and should hear the divorce and financial proceedings. Mrs Pierburg disputed this, stating that she lived in England and it was the English courts that held jurisdiction and should determine matters.
The point of jurisdiction and where the case is held will hold substantial ramifications for Mrs Pierburg. Shortly before the wedding the parties had entered into a marriage contract in Germany in which Mrs Pierburg would have no claim on the financial assets or any of her husband's assets, even if this would result in her suffering financial hardship.
Mr Justice Moor commented that if the German Courts upheld the marriage contract then Mrs Pierburg would not be entitled to, 'any financial remedy, including maintenance, notwithstanding a marriage to an exceptionally rich husband for 32 years which produced a son.' If the English courts head the matter then they would have almost certainly disregarded the marriage contract, considering it as unfair, but a German court is unlikely to take this approach.
The court had to consider Mrs Pierburg's relationship with London and whether she had sufficient links to establish that she was habitually resident in England.
Unfortunately for Mrs Pierburg, Mr Justice Moor ruled that although she came to London to visit the ballet and opera, her 'emotional and physical' links with Germany were 'considerably greater than she made out,' determining that Mrs Pierburg was not habitually resident in England.
Whether Mrs Pierburg will appeal the decision is yet to be seen, but the implications of this Judgement will impact upon the reported trend of 'divorce tourism' with parties seeking to establish links and habitual residence in the country to best fit their situation, before issuing divorce and financial proceedings.
Mr Justice Moor said: “She came here for the opera, for the ballet, to visit Dumfries House and to see friends such as Lady Chichester, but she did not live here.”