International Divorce 101: Part 2

Here are some additional insights to help you get what you need from the international divorce process:

  • As in any divorce, the dissolution begins with a petition, even if your soon-to-be ex lives in another country.
  • The main difference has to do with timing: serving divorce papers can take months, particularly if your spouse is currently stationed in a remote area.
  • Mention desertion as your grounds for divorce if your spouse left you and has not returned in a year or more. If your partner fails to respond to your petition within ninety days or return to the United States for divorce proceedings, you may qualify for an order of default. You may be required to provide reasonable proof that you attempted to locate your spouse.

Filing For Divorce While You’re Abroad

If you currently reside in a country other than the United States, get in touch with an international attorney familiar with family law in both your current country and back home. Your local United States Embassy can help you find an appropriate, qualified lawyer. Some people coordinate multi-faceted legal teams, including attorneys in the current country of residence and in the United States.

The filing process will vary considerably based on the country in which you reside. In most situations, it’s best not to announce your intention to divorce, as your spouse may file first in the U.S. and make arrangements that you find unfavorable. If your spouse files first, you must answer within a specific timeframe, or a default judgment may be ordered.

Will My Foreign Divorce Decree Be Recognized By the United States?

United States courts typically recognize divorce decrees drafted abroad. However, while your marriage may be regarded as officially dissolved in the court’s eyes, your efforts abroad do not guarantee a desired child custody resolution or division of property. Foreign courts rarely get involved with custody negotiations, as they lack the proper jurisdiction.

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