Long distance divorce and what to do when your partner lives outside US
Recently updated on December 5th, 2023 at 11:16 pm
You must have heard about long distance relationships and how hard they are to keep up with, similarly, long distance divorce is equally difficult to get. The divorce process depends on the state you file in, and does not depend on where your spouse lives. Serving your spouse with a copy of divorce petition is surely a challenge. There are flexible laws formulated by every country to accommodate its citizens. Let us look at the possibilities, step by step, for how to divorce your spouse if he/she lives outside United States of America.
Contacting the embassy of your spouse’s country should be the first and foremost step taken by you to proceed with the divorce. The procedure of serving you spouse with the divorce papers outside of the USA will majorly depend on the laws of the country your spouse is staying in. Although the US department of state is also able to help you with the procedure and provide you with the information but it’s better if you have your homework done beforehand.
If the law of your spouse’s country allows you to send divorce by mail then take your divorce complaint to the nearest post office. But if the law of your spouse’s country does not allow such mails then send your complaint by internationally registered mail service and a complete postal for a return receipt.
It is important that you divorce document is in a language which is understood by your spouse and the officials in his/her country. To do so you should translate the document into their native language. They might need a translation even if they understand English so it is better to prefer the native language.
If your spouse’s residence country is not accepting mail then it is appropriate if you contact the court where you filed your complaint. The court will forward a copy of your complaint and process it through a legal server in that country and get your complaint served.
Provide your mail return receipt with the court to prove that your spouse received you complaint. Different states may use different forms for this procedure. The court clerk can guide you about which form to use and attach it with the international mail receipt. If your spouse has been served with letters rogatory (documents making a request through a foreign court to obtain information or evidence from a specified person within the jurisdiction of that court, source: WIKIPEDIA), you generally will not be required to make any more effort. Just to be on the safer side, check with your court.
Have your spouse waive service. All divorces are lawsuits. When you file your lawsuit you have to notify the other party through what is known as service of process. Accomplishing this is best served by your spouse voluntarily waiving service.