Thanks for your question. I'll be happy to assist you.
Divorces between U.S. citizens and foreign nationals are quite common here in the U.S. So long as you meet your particular state's residency requirements (generally 6-12 months), you can file your divorce petition here in the U.S., and also be granted a judgment of divorce here.
The fact that your wife is an Indian citizen and is living in India will not matter for purposes of your divorce action here in the U.S. Also, the court will not require her to return to the U.S. for the divorce action.
The court may require that certain steps be performed in order to make sure that your divorce petition is served on your wife in India, but, the ultimate result will be that you will receive your judgment of divorce here.
I suppose that as an alternative, you could also go back to India and obtain your divorce there, but, I am unable to comment on Indian law since I'm only licensed to practice here in the U.S.
Hope this helps. Good luck.
Good evening, and thanks for your reply.
If you'll tell me what state you're located in, I can give you specifics regarding the residency requirements for that state.
You can hire an attorney who specializes in international divorce laws, but, unless your divorce has complicated international issues (for example, property in both countries that will have to be divided between you and your wife, custody matters -- although you've said your son is 20 years old, which is past the age of majority, and therefore not a concern with respect to custody and child support, etc.), I believe a local family law attorney should be able to help you. I'm sure the international family law attorneys charge a pretty penny for their services, and for an "ordinary" divorce with no major issues to be settled, I really don't think a specialist would be necessary. But, that's up to you, and which type of attorney you would feel more comfortable with.
To serve the divorce petition, you can use an international process server (there are companies that specialize in this), or, the court will likely be able to serve the petition on your wife via certified mail, FedEx, DHL, or a similar service. The court simply needs to be assured that your wife has received a copy of the summons and divorce petition in order for the divorce to proceed.
Many states (including my own state of West Virginia) nowadays have their family law forms available for download on the Internet. Your state may likewise have them available on the Internet. Once you've told me what state you're in, I'll be able to tell you more about this.
At any rate, the first thing you'll need to do to initiate the divorce process is to file your divorce petition with the clerk of court in the county where you reside. Next, your wife will be served with the petition and notice that she will have a certain amount of time (usually 20 or 30 days, again, depending on your state law) to file an answer to the petition. At some point after that, the case will be set for final hearing. There is really no "average" amount of time that it takes for a divorce action to proceed from start to finish. If your wife is served quickly, and she is agreeable to getting the divorce, property division, etc. I would predict that everything could be completed in a matter of a few months.
To file for a divorce in Oregon, either you or your spouse must have resided in the state for 6 months prior to filing. Since you've been a resident of Oregon for a number of years, you definitely meet the residency requirement.
Here is a link to the Oregon Courts website, which contains the family law forms that are used statewide in Oregon.
You will be able to find a link to the forms on the left hand side of the page when you open the above link.
Marital property in Oregon is subject to equitable division, meaning that the judge presumes that you and your spouse contributed equally to the purchase of all of your marital property and will divide it equally between the husband and wife, unless you can prove otherwise (as in your situation). I would say that you'd be able to keep whatever property you've purchased since you and your wife split up.
Hope this helps.
If your wife agrees to the divorce and has no issues with the property division, it will make things much easier than if you were to have a contested divorce case, in which she were to challenge your proposed division of property.
Even if she were to contest the property division, the fact that she has been living in India and you're here in the U.S. for the past 16 years more or less speaks for itself. If you did need to provide proof to the judge of the fact that you alone have paid for everything for the past 16 years, you would have to show the judge such documents as your income tax returns, the deed to your house, the title to your vehicle, etc. to show that her name isn't on any of it.
If you hire a divorce attorney in your area, he/she can advise you on the specifics of the divorce paperwork, particularly the part regarding property.
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