By: Joemar Pasco
Share This Post
How to Know if Your Foreign Divorce is Valid?
Going through a divorce is never an easy thing. The legalities involved can easily make a complicated mess that could never go away. If you see yourself needing to navigate through a divorce, you may come upon many challenges if you both reside in the same town. However, if your significant other resides abroad, then you may be left to wonder if your divorce will be valid.
There is never a case that is the same when it comes to foreign divorces, and any questions that you might have should be addressed to a divorce attorney located near you. Your attorney will be able to determine the validity of your divorce based on several factors.
Foreign Divorce Jurisdiction (Federal or State)
Divorces and marriages conducted in the United States are always under the jurisdiction of the state and are not considered a federal matter. The U.S. has no treaty with any country when it concerns a judgment being enforced. This includes any foreign divorces being recognized.
If your divorce was issued abroad it is formally recognized by your state based on comity, which is the recognition that is mutual between two nations based on the foreign country’s customs and laws as long as the involved parties both obtained enough notice.
When the comity principle is used it is based on the credibility and full faith of the individual in order to be recognized in a state or country. Even if comity is recognized for the ex parte divorce decree, where only one party is absent for it, the state will normally judge it based on the jurisdiction of the foreign decree thereby withholding comity if it has yet to be validated by the foreign domicile first.
A U.S. state court that has had to address the circumstances of a foreign divorce, which involved both parties but where neither party resides, has determined and viewed the divorce as being invalid.
Determining a U.S. State’s Authority to Validate Foreign Divorces
For all questions concerning the determining of the validity of a foreign divorce, you need to present your case to your state’s attorney general office. If your state’s AG is not able to assist you, then you need to obtain a divorce attorney in Miami so that you can be fully educated on the whole process. Once you meet with your attorney, make sure that you present them with all copies of the laws governing divorce from the foreign land, divorce decrees, and marriage certificate copies.
Recognition that is Practical
A lot of jurisdictions instill a prohibition that prevents a divorce from being attacked by a party later on. This is known as “estoppel” and is a principle-based on fairness. In such, a court may make it impossible for an attack to happen if it is found to be unfair.
With practical recognition, it could be obtained by any means including estoppel, unclean hands, or laches which can cause the attacking party to be barred effectively and denied the ability to seek an invalidity judgment.
Divorces Registered Abroad
U.S. law does not afford any provisions towards registration of divorce decrees at embassies that are abroad.