Issues in International Divorce

Posted by on Apr 3, 2014 in Divorce Topics | 0 comments

Divorce is difficult enough when the spouses are citizens of the same country. Even if they are both Americans, each state has different laws that can significantly affect the terms of the final decree. Throw into the mix the laws of a different country, and you have a recipe for complexity that even an experienced divorce lawyer would have a hard time unraveling. Issues in international divorce should really be handled by lawyers who specialize in it.

It is quite common nowadays to have married couples who are from different countries, or American couples who are married outside the US. Unfortunately, this increase in interracial and international marriages is matched by an increase in divorce rates. However, the dissolution of a marriage that was not legalized in the US or in cases where one or both spouses are from different countries, unique issues come up that may impact on the major aspects of divorce: property division, child custody, and financial support.

Property division in international divorces may include assets that are outside the country which would be outside the jurisdiction of an American court. Moreover, it is much easier to conceal assets which cannot be easily traced, which can prolong the process of discovery, and chances are any assets that were never documented in the US will never be traced.

In the case of child custody, many problems can arise if the primary caregiver parent wants to relocate outside the US and bring the children. Depending on the circumstances, determining what is in the best interests of the child may not be so easy. In general, the loss of association with one parent can be highly detrimental; on the other hand, refusing to grant the request of the petitioning parent can foster resentment or other negative emotions, which can also affect the child.

In the case of financial support, it is a matter of enforcement that presents the most difficulty. If either spouse moves away from American jurisdiction, it can be very difficult if not impossible for the obligee to compel the obligor court-ordered child and spousal support.

When considering an international divorce, keep in mind that there are a number of legal issues that a regular divorce attorney will not be able to address. Find a law firm that specializes in international divorce to make the process go as smoothly as possible.

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