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How can you divorce someone living overseas?

For most, initiating a divorce involves simply walking down the hallway and stating their intentions to their spouses. Yet what if your spouse lives in another country? First know that you are not alone; in fact, the website LongDistanceRelationshipStatistics.com reports that 2.9 percent of all American married couples live apart. Whether your original intent was to remain married while living in separate countries, or he or she moved abroad following a separation, carrying out an international divorce can be rife with challenges.

In order to best ensure that you are able to overcome any potential obstacles, it is recommended that you take the following steps:

  •          Get in touch with the U.S. embassy in the country that he or she is living in. Someone there should be able to tell you what cultural challenges you may face, as well as any treaties or agreements between the two countries that could hinder your proceedings.
  •          If the country he or she is living in permits divorce papers to be served by mail, send your divorce documents through international registered mail with a prepaid return receipt. If you cannot serve him or her by mail, contact the court from which you initiated the complaint. If international law allows, it can work in conjunction with that country’s family court to serve the documents upon your spouse.
  •          If your local court has collaborated with its counterpart in your spouse’s country, you typically don’t have to do anything more. If you served the complaint my mail, simply return the signed paperwork once you’ve received it.

While not meant to be legal counsel, the advice given above may give you a good shot at avoiding any unanticipated challenges to your case. 

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