Sunday, October 16, 2016

Divorce: What If My Spouse No Longer Lives in This Country?


With our diverse Bay Area population, it’s not unusual that couples get married, then one spouse decides to return to his/her country of origin or move to another country altogether. Divorce can be part of this life change.
Our family law team at California Document Preparers finds that these cases surface from time to time. In most situations, these are uncontested divorces, with little property and no children or support. We recently helped several couples; in both cases, the wife was filing for divorce. One husband had moved to Ireland and the other had returned to his native Fiji. In both cases, these were relatively simple procedures–younger couples who had been married fewer than ten years, without community property or children, so there were no child support issues.

The method of serving your spouse varies by country

If you’re filing for divorce in the US, one spouse must be served with the divorce papers. When a spouse lives outside the US, he/she can’t be served; rather, he/she must respond to the court in which the spouse filed. The method for serving your spouse outside of the United States will depend largely on the laws of his country. This process typically runs about $1,000, may require additional document translation fees and take about nine months, if not longer.

Submitting a formal response to the court

We’ve learned that if the respondent (the person who has received the divorce papers) submits a formal response with the court after he/she has been served, then the petitioner (the spouse who is filing for divorce) is not required to submit a formal proof of service. Once served with the packet, the respondent can complete the response form (within the packet that he/she is served) and submit it to the court, along with the court filing fee.

California Document Preparers assists with document preparation and facilitating signatures

Once the response is filed with the court, the parties must continue to work together to complete the final court paperwork. California Document Preparers assists in preparing these documents and facilitating signatures between the parties. We’ve been very successful in helping our clients get divorced in those situations where spouses live in separate countries.

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