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Posted by on Apr 15, 2013 in Divorce | 0 comments

What is International Divorce?

The prevalence of cross-cultural marriages, ease of international travel, and increasing permissiveness of more secular countries in recognizing divorce decrees executed in foreign countries has made international divorce more popular. An international divorce may mean any of the following:

  1. Divorce of foreign citizens who were married in another country
  2. Divorce granted in another country that may or may not be recognized in the country of domicile
  3. Divorce of a local citizen from a foreign spouse who may or may not be domiciled locally

An international divorce may include not only the legal dissolution of a marriage but also decisions on the division of property, child custody and financial support. One problem with international divorce is that there are a wide range of circumstances that may complicate any divorce decree. For example, if the divorcing couple has property in foreign lands, the court-mandated division of assets may not be enforceable.

Another problem is jurisdiction. In some countries such as the Philippines, divorce of two Filipino citizens married in the Philippines is not recognized except in specific circumstances. Conversely, an American couple who obtained a divorce from certain jurisdictions such as the Dominican Republic may not be considered divorced in the US.

International divorce is a complex process because the laws governing it are tenuous at best. In most instances, the validity of an international divorce will depend on a particular set of circumstances. It becomes more complicated when children and property are involved, and the divorce is contested.  Even if it is granted more easily in a particular country, there is no guarantee that it will be recognized in the home country of the couple. To ensure that an international divorce will be valid and to avoid unnecessary delays and expense, the advice and guidance of an experienced divorce lawyer will be needed.

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