Family Law Questions? Ask a Family Lawyer Online.
International divorce is becoming increasingly common. However ignorance of international divorce laws can be frightening when faced with legal complexities. This can result in a number of legal questions about the provisions of international divorce laws, a person's rights and the best course of legal action. Below are answers provided by Experts to some of the most commonly asked questions about international divorce laws.
Case Details: The couple has marital property both in the USA and in Moscow. Will the courts count the value of the marital property and use that total market value against the wife’s claim for spousal support and pension fund?
If you live in a common law property state, your marital property will usually be divided. If the property falls into separate property, it is the property of the person who owns it. All that the other party is entitled to is a “fair and equitable portion” of your separate property. “Fair and equitable portion” generally means that two-thirds go to the higher wage earning party and one-third to the other, lesser earning party. Community property and debt is everything else that includes income of both parties, gifts from one spouse to the other, all titled and un-titled property that was acquired during marriage. Community property is usually automatically assumed unless proven to be separate property by a party “by a preponderance of the evidence.” Community property and debt is generally split 50/50. So the market value of the property isn't in question. Who the property belongs to is the question.
Case Details: One spouse lives in Washington and the other is out of the country.
You can file for divorce in Washington even if you don't live there. As long as the Seattle court has jurisdiction over the spouse, you can file for divorce there. Courts allow you to file the paperwork by mail. Also, if the spouse agrees to the divorce, the papers could actually be filed by your spouse. In most case, you will have to eventually make an appearance in Washington, before the divorce is finalized.
The easiest way to serve papers on someone who is out of the country is by publication in the court reporter and by mail. You can try to send certified mail as well as regular mail. The clerk of courts will have the necessary forms to serve by publication. The service by publication will allow you to get a divorce but there will be no jurisdiction to enforce any court orders for alimony, etc., until you can have the papers served in the US. Service by publication is used quite frequently in case of international divorces and whenever the overseas spouse cannot be located. International divorce laws can vary depending on the circumstances and the country. It is always best practice is to ask an Expert before acting.
If you have lived there over a year, you can file for a divorce in Sweden. The first condition in order to be able to file a petition for divorce in a Swedish court is that the Swedish court must actually have jurisdiction to hear the case. That is of course the case where both spouses are Swedish nationals and live in Sweden. But Swedish courts also have jurisdiction in the following cases: where both spouses are Swedish nationals, the petitioner is a Swedish national and is habitually resident in Sweden or has previously been habitually resident in Sweden since he or she reached the age of 18, or the petitioner is not a Swedish national, but has been habitually resident in Sweden for at least one year.
Divorces between U.S. citizens and foreign nationals are quite common 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 other alternative is to go to India and file the divorce in India under Indian divorce laws.
In a well-connected, shrinking world, international marriages and divorces are also on the increase. Laws and courts around the world have started recognizing this and are capable of handling international divorce cases. However, that does not always reduce the complication of the case and can result in a many other issues and complications around the visa, immigration, alimony, child support, etc. Uncertainty and questions are natural when faced with the prospect of an international divorce. One way to get quick and affordable answers to your questions is to ask an Expert for an evaluation of your case and legal insights that would help you take informed decisions.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service.