Thank you for your inquiry. Your answer was intriguing and I enjoyed researching it. Since there is no year attached to your inquiry, I will assume these events took place in 2008 and answer according to those facts.
A Guam divorce is legal and recognized in all 50 states and several other US territories - however it must be carried out in the appropriate manner. To get a divorce in Guam there must be a (1) valid marriage, (2) residency requirements must be met, and (3) grounds for divorce must be stated.
Residency requirements can be fulfilled if:
- either party resides in Guam for 90 days prior to filing for divorce
- a non-resident seeking an uncontested divorce stays in Guam for seven days prior to filing for and receiving the divorce.
Irreconcilable differences will usually suffice for grounds for divorce. Any other claims may have to be pled with specificity and proven before the court (i.e. willful neglect, willful desertion, or habitual intemperance).
If there are contested matters, the court will leave those issues to be resolved in the jurisdiction where property is located or where the children reside. Guam is a community property jurisdiction and property will generally be split equally unless there is an agreement to the contrary by the parties.
The party that does not travel to Guam must sign the appropriate legal documents in front of a notary public to satisfy the court. If this was not done, the signature should not have been considered valid.
The Guam divorce process takes place in two stages. First, an interlocutory decree is granted. During this time, neither party is eligible to remarry. There is generally a six month waiting period and any marriage entered into during this time is void unless the judge has waived the waiting period.
Once the waiting period has elapsed, the Judge will issue a Final Decree of Divorce which finalizes the divorce and ends the marital relationship. There is no waiting period to remarry after the Final Decree has been entered.
A party that seeks to void the divorce may do so during the interlocutory period by filing an Appeal, a Motion for a New Trial, or by seeking a Reversal of the Interlocutory Decree. This is not a process I would attempt on my own. I would strongly advise you to seek legal counsel by an attorney who is familiar with these matters. A great place to start would be the Guam Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service which can be reached at: www.guambar.org OR at(NNN) NNN-NNNN
Once again I thank you for your inquiry and hope that my answer was helpful to you. Please note that the advice given is for informational purposes only and is not intended to establish the attorney-client relationship. I wish you the best of luck in reconciling this matter.
Thank you for your information. I still need to find out more information before hire a lawyer to Appeal. I think I got cheated financially. I want fair share for me. I had been married for 24 years during that time I worked 22 years. My ex who work for Fedral Govement (Justice Dept.as Paral Legal and Investigator)) told me not to hire a lawyer.
I thought he'll do the right thing. I was fool to trusted him. I got a house that I refinaced to $325,000. last Jan. 2009 so I can stay in my house with kids who is 23 and 18 years old until they finish their school and TSP($127,000) which I'm still wating for the check.
My ex told me not to touch his FER,Social Security check and VA benefit($1,400). I was so confuse and shock to think clearly when he told me about divorce. He threatted and forced me to sign the divorce paper which contain a lot of lies. I don't think I got fair divorce trial. My ex is the one who had a fair and broke my family a part and got away. I don't want him back but I need my financial security. Do I have a chance?
I DO believe you have a chance but you need to speak to a local attorney immediately BEFORE a final decree of divorce is issued. Once the Final Decree is issued, your chances of overturning that may be very slim. If you stop the Guam divorce process, you can file for divorce in your county of residence and let a judge in your area make an equitable division of the property. However, if you don't alert the Guam courts to the fact that something is wrong - they won't know that something is wrong and they may finalize the divorce. You don't want that. I strongly urge you to contact the Guam Attorney Referral Service (listed in the previous note) where one of the local attorneys there can at least file the Appeal and halt the divorce process. The longer you wait, the harder it may be to overturn this and you could end up stuck with the settlement made by the Guam officials which most likely did not make a fair division of your property because you were not there to represent yourself or have an attorney act on your behalf.
Please keep in mind that the waiting period between the Interlocutory Decree and Final Decree is only 6 months. From the facts you have stated in your question - it seems it has been about 6 or 7 months so I strongly encourage you to act quickly because the divorce can now legally be finalized in Guam if they do not hear from you.
I hope this information helps.
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