What You Need to Think About Before Filing for Divorce When Your Spouse Lives Outside the USA

What You Need to Think About Before Filing for Divorce When Your Spouse Lives Outside the USA

Embarking on the process of filing for divorce can be complex, especially when your spouse resides outside the USA. This article will guide you through the crucial considerations and steps to navigate this unique situation effectively. From understanding international laws to coordinating legal proceedings across borders, we’ll provide you with the essential insights you need to proceed with confidence and clarity.

I don’t think you could find anyone who would try to argue that filing for divorce is a pleasant process. While every step makes sense in its own way that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some things that can frustrate even the most patient person.

After having represented many people in divorce cases across Texas I can tell you that most of those folks have great intentions but are not thinking all that clearly during their case due to stress, anxiety and a mix of perfectly understandable emotions.

The tough part about a divorce is that the mistakes that you are capable of making within the case may not have any ramifications of effects on your life until years later. Many issues surrounding divorce are made to be more complex when your marriage was conducted outside the U.S.A. or your spouse lives outside of the country. In today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC we will discuss what issues are most important when it comes to an international divorce.

What Makes a Divorce International in Nature?

You may be asking yourself what exactly constitutes an international divorce. In a state like Texas where many of us were born or at least once resided outside the State or country there are a lot of people whose cases may fairly be termed as an international divorce. Let’s first establish what an international divorce is.

An international divorce involves persons who were marred in another country, own property outside of the United States, have adopted a child not born in the United States during the course of your marriage or were simply married in a foreign country. If your marriage or family life meets one of these qualifications then your divorce may involve international issues.

What this means on a practical level is that not only will the laws of Texas be relevant to your divorce but the laws of another country may also come into play. It is not a given that our laws are the same or even similar to the laws of the other country. In many instances those laws may differ a great deal. When you are having to deal with the sort of complex issues that your divorce will likely represent it is wise to have a representative (like those with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC) who have helped other people find solutions for themselves in situations like the one you are facing.

What Do You Need to Do When You File for an International Divorce in Texas

What You Need to Think About Before Filing for Divorce When Your Spouse Lives Outside the USA

Filing for an international divorce in Texas brings unique challenges, starting with meeting the state’s legal residency requirements. Understanding these prerequisites is crucial for a successful filing.

Establishing Residency in Texas: A Prerequisite for Filing

To file for divorce in Texas, either you or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months and in the specific county for ninety days. Evidence like utility bills or payroll receipts can help establish this residency, though the rise of remote working has made some proofs less definitive. Gathering pertinent documents is a critical first step.

Navigating Jurisdictional Complexities Beyond Texas

Once Texas residency is confirmed, you must also consider the legal requirements of the country involved in your divorce. It’s essential to understand these international jurisdictional nuances before proceeding. While online resources like Google can provide a basic understanding, it’s advisable to consult with an attorney. A legal expert can offer detailed, knowledgeable guidance tailored to your specific situation, ensuring a more informed and strategic approach to your international divorce proceedings.

What Can Be Done if Your Spouse Does Not Live In the USA

In cases where your spouse resides outside the United States, the complexities of divorce proceedings can escalate. A Texas court may still take jurisdiction, offering the possibility of handling the case within the Lone Star State. Key to this is the condition of serving divorce papers, preferably while the spouse is in the country.

Case Study: The Challenge of International Service

An instance from our law firm’s experience highlights the complexities of international divorce. We represented a man who married a woman from Colombia, where they lived for many years. Health issues forced him to return to Texas for surgery, only to find his wife had left for Colombia post-surgery. This situation presented unique challenges:

  • Establishing Residency for Jurisdiction: Our client needed to meet Texas residency requirements to file for divorce, despite being married in Texas. This didn’t guarantee immediate eligibility for divorce proceedings in Texas upon his return.
  • Property Considerations Across Borders: Since most of the client’s property was in Colombia, it was unlikely a Texas judge’s orders would impact that property, given the limited jurisdictional reach into Colombian legal matters.
  • Serving Divorce Papers Internationally: The final hurdle was serving divorce papers to his wife in Colombia. Without her presence in the U.S., we had to resort to the United Nations’ method for international service – a time-consuming and costly process compared to domestic service.

These examples underscore the heightened challenges and critical decisions involved in international divorce cases, especially when one spouse is outside the U.S.

Divorce Is Complex and International Divorce Is More Complex

What You Need to Think About Before Filing for Divorce When Your Spouse Lives Outside the USA

After reading today’s blog post if you have any questions about the material that we covered please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. I understand that you may have specific questions about your circumstances that you need to have answered. We offer free of charge consultations six days a week where we can answer those questions and address your concerns in comfortable and pressure free environment. Our attorneys practice only in family law and serve clients just like you from across southeast Texas.


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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding Divorce, it’s important to speak with one of our Houston, TX Child Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.

Our Divorce lawyers in Spring TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.

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