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Getting a divorce after being married overseas

On Behalf of | Sep 29, 2020 | Divorce

Typically, when people get married, they intend to live the rest of their lives together. No one gets to their wedding day and thinks about a lengthy divorce with messy asset division complications.

Unfortunately, not all marriage relationships are successful in the long-term. There are many situations where spouses are no longer compatible. If you were married in another country, a divorce in Colorado might not be as simple as you hoped.

Here’s what you should know about getting a divorce if you were married in another country.

Residency matters but not citizenship

When you seek a divorce, one of the first matters to address is where you live now. If you have maintained residency in Colorado for at least 91 or more days, you may seek a divorce here, even if you are not a US citizen, and even if your spouse lives elsewhere. However, there may be limits on the issues a Colorado court can address, if your spouse lives outside the country and/or if you or your spouse have real estate, money or other assets located outside Colorado.

Service can present problems

In most cases, divorce petitions must be served to the other spouse personally. If you and your spouse are filing for divorce in the same state, this is relatively simple. If, on the other hand, your spouse is on the other side of the globe, it can get complicated.

Typically, service means delivering the petition in person, but some alternatives can help in challenging situations, such as:

  • Waiver of service. If your spouse agrees to waive personal service, you may be able to serve divorce documents by email, mail or fax.
  • Publication. If you do not know your spouse’s current address, but know their city, you may be able to petition the court for permission to post a notice in a local newspaper for a specific number of days.
  • Foreign process server. Hiring someone to serve your spouse with divorce papers can be expensive, but it could save you time and money if your spouse does not waive personal service.

Once you resolve service issues, the paperwork portion of the divorce will likely proceed like most divorces in the United States. However, keep in mind that issues such as child and spousal support can become complicated if your spouse is in another country. Also, while your divorce may be complete in the United States, you could have other challenges if you need the country you were married in to recognize the divorce.

Many issues come with filing for a divorce if you were married in another country. It is important to talk to an experienced divorce attorney who can help you throughout the process.


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