How To Divorce When Your Spouse Is In Another Country

2 May 2018
 Categories: Law, Blog


Depending on certain factors, divorce can be one of the most complicated processes you have to go through. This is without the added complication of having a spouse who is based in another country. The real challenge, in this case, isn't the divorce process itself but the process of serving your spouse with divorce papers.

Different countries have different laws with regards to serving of legal papers. If the divorce petition isn't served in accordance with laws for personal service in the respective country, your case will not make it to court. There are a number of ways that you can approach this.

Have Your Spouse Waive Service

An uncontested divorce is your easiest way of getting out of a marriage when you have a spouse living abroad. You'll need to send an affidavit plus any required documents touching on the divorce. Your spouse can sign off on the waiver and have it notarized at a U.S. consulate or embassy.

Attempt Formal Service

The Hague Convention on Service is the first place you should look if your spouse is contesting the divorce. In countries that are signatories to this convention, there is an established process that should be used in the serving of individual. Follow the provided steps to serve your spouse with the divorce papers.

Sending Divorce Petition by International Registered Mail

This method isn't as reliable as the other two, but it may be your only option if your spouse is in a country that isn't a signatory to the Hague Convention on Service. You can have the Clerk of Courts send the divorce petition to the last known address via international registered mail.

Service by Publication

This is usually used as a last resort when you can locate your spouse in the country they're residing in. The notice of the divorce may be published in the necessary legal organ, e.g., newspaper in the jurisdiction where you're filing for divorce. You have to show the court that you've made the best effort to locate your spouse.

The Issue of Alimony and Child Support

Getting a divorce from someone in another country might just be one of several problems if you're expecting child support and/or alimony. These orders can be difficult to enforce in another country and sometimes, the best you can expect is an uncontested divorce. Talk to your divorce attorney about your expectations so you can know your options.

For more information, contact a company like Grafton Law Office.