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socrateaser, Lawyer
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Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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HELLO, I,M A RETIRED SOLDIER, I LIVED WORKED AND MARRIED

Resolved Question:

HELLO,
I,M A RETIRED SOLDIER,
I LIVED WORKED AND MARRIED IN GERMANY TO A GERMAN NATIONAL, IN A GERMAN CIVIL CEREMONY AT A GERMAN CITY HALL. I HAVE RE-LOCATED TO THE USA. MY FAMILY MADE THE CHOICE TO REMAIN IN GERMANY. AS A RETIRED DISABLED SERVICE MEMBER, IT WAS IN MY BEST INEREST TO RETURN AN TAKE ADVANTAGE OF MY MEDICAL BENEFITS. HOW CAN I TERMINATE THIS MARRIAGE, A ESTIMATE OF THE COST, WE HAVE ONE SON 24 YRS. 5MO. AM I LEGALLY MARRIED IN THE USA.

RESPECTFULLY
NATHANIEL STRONG III
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
Hello,

You can obtain a divorce in Illinois, however there are a lot of issues that cannot be resolved by an Illinois court, because your spouse has no connection to the jurisdiction, and so a court will refuse to make orders concerning anything other than the status of your marriage.

In other words, the court would order you divorced, but for property division, or spousal support, the court would refuse to make any orders -- unless your German spouse "waives" jurisdiction and submits to the divorce in an Illinois court.

What this means, is that you would have to serve notice of the divorce to your spouse in Germany, using a process called the Hague Convention on Civil Procedure. Once she is served, if she responds to the Illinois court in any way other than to challenge the court's authority to divide the marital property. then she will automatically submit to Illinois as jurisdiction for the divorce.

However, if she challenges jurisdiction, then the Illinois court will be limited to only declaring you and your spouse divorced, and you would have to bring the questions of property division and support to a German court for resolution.

Obviously the costs involved in all of this could be substantial. However, since many people don't realize that they can accidentally waive into a jurisdiction, you may be able to have your spouse do this inadvertently -- so, it may be in your interest to file for divorce in Illinois, and then see what happens. You may have good luck, and your property and support issues can be all handled in Illinois, whether or not your spouse is willing to come to Illinois to defend herself.

Please let me know if I can clarify my answer or be of further assistance.

Hope this helps.
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 34866
Experience: Retired (mostly)
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