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International Divorce Questions

International divorce is becoming increasingly common. However, being unaware of the laws can be frightening when faced with legal complexities. This can result in a number of legal questions about the provisions, a person's rights and the best course of legal action. Below are questions answered by Experts.

How is marital property in two countries treated in an international divorce?

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 untitled 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.

How and where to file an uncontested international divorce?

You can file for divorce in court which has jurisdiction over the spouse. 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 the state where the divorce is filed, before it is finalized.

How to file and serve divorce papers on a spouse who is in another country?

The easiest way to serve papers on someone who is out of the country is by publication with 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.

How to file for a divorce while residing in Sweden if you cannot obtain an entry visa into the US?

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 court must actually have jurisdiction to hear the case. Swedish courts 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.

If someone from India just recently became US citizen through naturalization where should they file for divorce of their spouse still in India?

So long as you meet your particular state's residency requirements (generally 6-12 months), you can file your divorce petition here in the US 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, alimonychild 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 make informed decisions.

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