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Legal Ease
Legal Ease, Lawyer
Category: Canada Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 96464
Experience:  I am a practicing lawyer and have also been an online professional for 5 years.
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Divorce and/or separation in the the United States - I'm a

Customer Question

Divorce and/or separation in the the United States - I'm a Japanese citizen who was married in Hawaii and therefore I have registered marriage in both Japan and the United States. I would like to annual my marriage or file for divorce in the United States. Can you please let me know what the procedure is for filing for divorce or separation in the United States. Is there a form or application which I can fill out and register with a court in Hawaii (via mail or email)? I'm looking for someone to point me in the right direction so I can complete the procedure on my own. Thanks.
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Canada Family Law
Expert:  aminlawfirm replied 4 months ago.

Welcome to Just Answer (“JA”)! My name is Maverick.

Note: (1) If you want legal advice, consult with a local attorney before acting or deciding not to act; information given here is for educational purposes only; (2) Most questions are answered within the hour; however, if I am not signed on, please allow up to 24 hours; and (3) Please assign a feedback rating so JA will compensate me. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms and to JA’s other site disclaimers. [Proof that you are in good hands].

There are at least three separate issues that need to be vetted here. First we need to find out if you qualify for annulment; next we need to determine if separation is the right option or whether you should just proceed to a divorce. Finally, we will need to discuss whether you can apply for divorce from Japan without having to come for a hearing in Hawaii. Because this will take some extra time, I will send you an offer of additional services.

If you decide that you do not want to accept the offer, you may release my lock on this question and return to the general pool of experts by clicking the "opt out" button on your end of the portal.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hi Maverick, I think I need rephrase my question because some of the info came across inaccurately. First I'm asking on behalf of a friend, she has intention to divorce her husband as soon as possible. He has been abusive for years in the past although he is better now but she doesn't want that to factor in. They both currently live in Canada (not Japan). He is a Canadian citzen, she is a Japanese citizen with PR status in Canada. They have 2 kids, and they are in a common-law relationship in Canada (British Columbia) because they've lived together for 5 years. If you think you can still provide advice as I require it, I'll accept your offer. If not how do I release your lock on the question?
Expert:  aminlawfirm replied 4 months ago.

I will need to opt out and let a Canada law expert help you. You need not do anything further. Someone from Canada should pick this up soon....

Expert:  Legal Ease replied 4 months ago.

I am a lawyer in Canada and happy to take over.

But so far I only see information about applying for an annulment in the US.

Please start over and explain the facts and then provide your specific question about the law in Canada.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hi Legal Ease, I can clarify as follows: First my use of "annulment" was incorrect. It's divorce I'm inquiring about. Second, I'm asking on behalf of a friend, she has intention to divorce her husband as soon as possible. He has been abusive for years in the past although he is better now but she doesn't want that to factor in. They both currently live in Canada (not Japan). He is a Canadian citizen, she is a Japanese citizen with PR status in Canada. They have 2 kids, and they are in a common-law relationship in Canada (British Columbia) because they've lived together for 5 years.
Expert:  Legal Ease replied 4 months ago.

I am still confused.

Are you asking about what she should do if she wants to end her common law relationship?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Sorry I will clarify. She's Japanese but living in Canada with PR. Her husband is a Canadian citizen. (a) in Canada she's in a common law relationship, (b) in the US she's married, and (c) in Japan she's married. She wants to get a divorce, i.e. leave her husband permanently in all jurisdictions. In regards ***** ***** we have a good idea on what she needs to do. Also in Japan we know what needs to be done. We just need to know what she needs to do to apply for or register her intention to divorce in the US.
Expert:  Legal Ease replied 4 months ago.

As she is living in Canada she can apply for the divorce in Canada. This will be considered valid in the US as well.

In fact, she must apply for the divorce where she lives and not where she was married.

So she can retain a family lawyer in Canada in her city and apply for the divorce now.

So long as she has been separated for one year she has all the grounds she needs for the divorce.

Does that help as a starting point?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
First thank you so much for your answers. Things are not well and this needs to happen right away. She has not been separated for a year. She has just initiated her separation as of yesterday and is now making all of the logistical arrangements. So thus far, this is the strategy that we've devised for her: She is going to work on developing a separation agreement and getting that legally signed between her and her partner. Once she signs that, and one year is up, she will file for divorce. Because of the situation with her husband, and his attitude towards her, we it's psychologically important to have a separation agreement in place, as well as all of the obvious legal benefits. One remaining question is that after one year passes does she still have to file for "divorce" in Canada in order to close off the same in the US? She is not actually married in Canada, she's just common-law here. How can she file for divorce here if she's not married?
Expert:  Legal Ease replied 4 months ago.

If she got legally married in the US she has to divorce her spouse. She has to do that where she lives and not where they married.

If she was legally married in the US and moved to Canada she is still legally married in Canada. So long as her marriage is considered valid where she married Canada recognizes her as married.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Ok excellent, so to recap then. Since her marriage is legal in the US, she's also considered married in Canada and therefore must get a divorce in Canada. As a final check, does the strategy I described above make sense? That is: 1) file separation agreement now, 2) initiate separation, and 3) after the lapse of one year, file for a divorce. Is that a feasible approach?
Expert:  Legal Ease replied 4 months ago.

That is all correct and yes that is the perfect strategy and one that any family here would recommend. Excellent!

Expert:  Legal Ease replied 4 months ago.

I was just thinking about our conversation and have been wondering if you have thought of any further follow-up questions for me.

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