Managing a Divorce from Overseas

confusion-divorceDivorce can be a difficult process both financially and emotionally to couples. It can get more challenging when one is living overseas. If you are living abroad and you would like to file for divorce with your spouse who is living in another country, there are three laws that must be taken into consideration. These are the law of the state or country that you are in, the international law and the law of the country that your spouse lives in.

In Australia, you can file for divorce if you’re an Australian citizen or domiciled in Australia, or if you have been a resident for at least one year. You should have been separated from your partner for at least 12 months prior to the filing of divorce. However, since international law and law in other countries may vary, the information that would be shared here would be for overseas divorce in general. It would be easier if you get the help of a lawyer that specializes in international divorce.

Filing for Divorce Overseas

The first thing that you need to do is to check with the embassy of your spouse’s country to determine their requirements when it comes to sending divorce papers from another country. As mentioned, laws may differ from one country to another. It’s best that you know exactly how the process works for the specific country where you will be sending the divorce papers. This would make the entire process quicker and easier. Hiring experienced legal advice like this is definitely worthwhile in these more complicated situations. You may also want to ask if the divorce papers require translations. This is regardless if your spouse understands English. Some countries require that divorce papers must be converted to their native language. If this is required, then you need to have them translated.

If your spouse lives in a country that allows these divorce papers to be sent by mail, then you may send the documents through the post office and complete the form to get a return receipt. Countries that do not allow serving of divorce documents via mail are Switzerland, Venezuela, Argentina, Poland, Germany, Japan and China. Check with the court on the best way to send the divorce papers in case your spouse lives in any of these countries that don’t allow sending them by mail. The court could probably send some requests to make this happen. If not, they could advise you on the best thing to do so that the documents would reach your spouse. Once you got the return receipt for your mail, file this in the court as a proof that you have sent the needed documents to your spouse and that he has received them.

Filing for a divorce, especially with this situation can be overwhelming. This is why it’s best that you get the help of a trusted and experienced divorce lawyer that specializes in this area. It would be ideal if he has successfully handled a case similar to yours, with the other spouse living in the same country as your spouse, as it means that he would know the ins and outs of the process.