7 Things to Know About Getting an International Divorce

7 Things to Know About Getting an International Divorce 1

Are you going through a very rough marriage? Are you considering the prospects of filing for a divorce?

There are many reasons why couples decide to end their marriages through a divorce. Regardless of the reasons, the process is taxing in so many ways. Not only is it draining, but it can also take out a huge chunk of your finances if you fail to handle it properly.

Furthermore, things become even more complicated in international divorce. Certain elements differ with local divorce. There are also crucial factors to consider before filing.

Here are seven things to know before proceeding with an international divorce.

1. It Is Full of Unique Complications

As we mentioned earlier, international divorce comes with many complications. Various factors also affect the levels of these complications.

About 40% to 50% of couples in the United States end up in divorce. Going through a divorce in the US is already complicated in itself. Taking it to the international landscape is even more nuanced.

For example, if you are an American citizen who wants to get a divorce abroad, you will have to go through two different sets of laws. First, are the laws that govern the foreign country. The second one being the divorce laws in the US.

Thankfully, there is the Hague Conference on Private International Law. This organization aims to reduce the complications of international divorce. To date, it has 85 member states plus the European Union.

Some of the key divorce-related conventions of the organization include divorces and legal separations, as well as matrimonial property regimes. You may find these useful especially if you are battling for child custody and properties.

2. Understand Your State Laws

We cannot emphasize further the importance of understanding state divorce laws. Interestingly, each state in the US has its own set of divorce laws. Hence, there are differences concerning the rules.

These differences often involve service requirements and residency rules.

The courts in Europe impose fewer rules specifically when it comes to financial disclosures. In the US, particularly in California, the rules on disclosing finances require full transparency before you can divide your properties. Some countries do not require you to notify your spouse of proceedings.

3. Preparing the Right Way

Though international divorce may involve going through two or more jurisdictions, you can overcome its challenges by preparing the right way. You want to act fast when taking the first steps to your divorce application.

Thus, start working with your petition in the country where you think you will attain the most favorable results. This can be the country where you currently reside. It can also be the country where you intend to live after the divorce (more on this later below).

Next, you want to start framing the outcome of your divorce application. Here, you need the help of international divorce lawyers for guidance.

You also want to start collating all the pertinent documents. This will keep you from rushing later on and wasting a lot of time in the process.

4. The Place of Filing

The place where you should file for a divorce is one of the most crucial elements of the process. If your spouse is living abroad and you’re residing in the US, you can file the divorce application in the US.

Here in the US, you will file your application in the state court. Generally, there are residency requirements to submit when filing for a divorce.

In California, you can only apply for a divorce if you or both parties lived in the state for at least half a year. Meanwhile, the state of Indiana requires both parties to be residents for at least six months.  Moreover, both spouses must be residents of the specific county for at least three years where they wish to file the divorce.

Also, some states require shorter residency requirements. Some require even as short as a year or less.

Meanwhile, filing abroad is a different kind of animal, so to speak. If you apply for a divorce in a different country, most US states will recognize it. If you were able to submit proper documentation, notices, and other legal formalities, then there should be no problem.

In the case of child support and custody, there may be legal complications that you need to go through. Here, international divorce advice is essential.

5. Find a Lawyer Specializing in International Divorce

You need to find a lawyer who specializes in international divorce and child custody. Before you hire anyone, you need to learn how to hire the right one.

The key is to find a divorce lawyer who knows the ins and outs of the divorce laws in the local country you are filing the divorce. If you are in the US and your spouse is in another country, then you need to find a US-based divorce lawyer.

The same thing goes if you live in Europe but have properties in Australia. You will need to find family lawyers based in Europe and Australia, respectively.

6. Serving Your Spouse

Another important aspect you need to understand is serving the petition. Generally, divorce cases involve serving or handing the divorce petition personally to your spouse.

But with international divorce cases, personal service can be tough. This is true if the other party lives thousands of miles across the world.

How do you go about this? Firstly, you can request your spouse to sign a document waiving the need for personal service. However, you can only take this route if the divorce is amicable.

Alternatively, you can hire a foreign process server. You can also petition the court to grant service by publication.

7. Mind the Hidden Assets

Last but not least, you need to be open to the possibility of your spouse hiding some assets. Uncovering such assets require careful examination of all financial documents of the other party within your marriage.

This involves looking at bank statements, real income levels, and mortgage papers. It also covers loan applications, tax returns, and investment information.

Expand Your Legal Knowledge

Going through an international divorce process can be challenging. By understanding these essential aspects, you can prepare ahead of time and avoid crucial mistakes along the way. As for your other legal needs, there are many other things to learn.

Thus, we invite you to expand your knowledge on legal matters. Check out our other articles discussing relevant legal topics.

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