International marriages and divorces are increasingly common. When a spouse leaves and returns to their nation of origin and files a petition for divorce against you, there can be additional issues and challenges. If a divorce is filed in another country your local divorce attorney will likely recommend bringing another attorney on the case to advise on the laws of the foreign nation and how they apply to your local family law rules in your state.
Property distribution is one of the procedures in a divorce that can be more challenging when some of the property is located out of state and in another country. For example, your spouse may be own land and homes in another country that are not allowed to be ordered to be sold or transferred by a U.S. court. In the event there is an issue with overseas property, you can adjust your divorce negotiations so that property distribution is as equitable as possible.
Children and international custody issues
If your spouse notifies you they want a divorce and are leaving to go to their parent’s house and are taking the children, it may be one thing when their parent lives in the same county, but when they are in another country, you may have bigger problems if your spouse refuses to return with the children. Even in divorces that start amicable, it is always possible that people can be influenced by others and the process can become more aggressive and adversarial.
Just as laws regarding marriage, divorce and property are affected by international laws, child custody and visitation rules may vary greatly. If the rules for the custody and support of children are those of another nation, any conflict in custody battles can work against you if you do not have an experienced attorney representing you in the court of the foreign nation.
The force and effect of US court orders internationally
Your local divorce attorney, ideally working with a foreign attorney on your case, can use the allowed court procedures to contest the divorce being held abroad and request the proper court is in your home county and state where jurisdiction is proper. There are agreements among certain countries about which court should have jurisdiction over divorce and issues involving children.
Despite agreements among nations regarding international divorce and family law, there are other nations with no agreements with U.S. courts of law. Those countries may not recognize a U.S. court order regarding children or their return in the event of abduction.
When you hire an attorney, located in your home county and an attorney representing your interests in a foreign court it is possible to divorce effectively so long as everyone understands that the laws and procedures may be quite different, and flexibility might be required.