Divorcing a spouse who is not a US citizen

Very often we see divorcing a non-citizen as a setback, but actually, it isn’t one. Divorcing a non-citizen is no big of a deal and has a few more regulations to follow and that’s all. The primary process remains the same but every country has different laws and to facilitate them all, US department of state has to take certain measure to keep up with the laws of different countries.

There are many legalities involved in such cases but if you acquire adequate knowledge of the facts and rules, your proceedings will be quick and processing time can decrease as well. Discuss and question everything with your lawyer as he/she will guide you in the best way possible. Very often we rely on knowledge which is not supported by facts and this can lead you to trouble and elongated time in the court room.

To get through the divorce, you need to understand that it is important to have significant knowledge about your spouse’s country laws as well as your own. In order to have full control of our stance, you need to be thorough and have adequate knowledge. Firstly,

Step 1

Go through the laws for different countries on the website of US department of state. The rules for every country are different. Generally, for service to be valid in a U.S. court, it must be valid in the country in which you are serving your spouse.

You may be able to serve the divorce deed by mail or by a designated foreign agent or even by publication depending upon the laws of the country.

Step 2

After carefully going through the laws, plan on filing your petition very carefully keeping all those laws you read in mind. Include your own name and address and the name and address of your spouse, if you know where he/she lives. Date and place where your marriage took place along with the city and country. In the concluding paragraph you can mention the terms and conditions. Since every state has different rules, so read about your current country’s rules before finalizing the petition.

Step 3

You can now file the petition with the clerk after carefully reviewing the petition. If there are any amendments you would like to make then discuss with your lawyer before filing.


Step 4

Acquire the stamped copy of the petition from the clerk after filing the petition; your petition should now be ready to serve your partner.

The only drawback that can be identified while divorcing a non-US citizen may be the time. It can take a bit longer than the usual US citizen divorce if your spouse does not report back to the country to attend the hearing. It is also seen in many cases that if the partner does not return, the judge grants you a default judgment of divorce.

However, rest of the process remains the same.

Please keep in mind that divorcing a non-citizen does not mean you can get your spouse’s rights evicted. A non-citizen has certain rights and enjoys some perks if he/she has been married to you for obtaining residency or citizenship. As per the law of Unites States, you need to be married to your citizen spouse for two years to obtain permanency. However if that is not the case and the marriage lasted less than two years then you might be able to get a waiver IF the marriage was in good faith. So as to justify your marriage, your citizen spouse may be asked to present an evidence of owning some property, if not, then you and your spouse must have children together.

For all of the steps, it is necessary to have a competent attorney file for you. Invest in a good attorney; it will not only help you with the settlement but will also save your time. Many people start off by applying and filing for divorce all on their own, which in return costs them time and money both. So to save both, pick attorneys who have a good history of winning such cases and is competent enough to handle settlements.

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