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Introduction to International Divorce

International divorces are increasing as globalization rises.  It is becoming more common over time to take jobs overseas, to be temporarily relocated to company offices in other countries, or to take a brief period to study or receive an advanced degree abroad.  Now that the divorce rate in the United States approaches fifty percent, it makes sense that couples separated by an ocean could need to pursue a divorce or separation with the additional added wrinkle of international considerations.

Initiating the Divorce

Different countries handle divorce substantially differently, and whether the divorce is handled in one nation or another can make an enormous difference in the outcome of the divorce.  Generally, divorce will be handled by the nation in which the divorce is first filed, meaning that a spouse who can quickly and efficiently navigate his or her local legal divorce process can gain an upper hand.  If you are considering a divorce or separation from a spouse abroad, keeping things between yourself and your legal counsel can help ensure that your rights are respected when it comes to determining the division of assets and debts, alimony and spousal support, child support, and custody.

Differences among Nations

While there are some websites available for loosely calculating costs, asset division, and likely alimony or child support payments in various nations, your best bet will likely be to consult a family law attorney who can help give you a better idea of what to expect regarding your specific circumstances.  For instance, some nations go as far as to provide an option for a “clean break”, so to speak, in which both spouses simply part ways as-is, without changes, and are no longer married and have no continuing financial ties to one another.  International organizations can provide some statistics and information regarding divorce in other countries through demographic surveys.  Time may be a factor as well; divorce could take months or years longer in one nation as opposed to another.

Additional Issues

Further, international divorces and family law issues also often go hand-in-hand with other factors that tend to complicate divorces or separations.  International divorces can have ramifications for taxes, employment, and immigration.  Ending a relationship with a citizen of your nation of residence could compromise your lawful presence in that country depending on your legal status.  Those pursuing international divorces often are high-asset couples with a great deal of financial resources and belongings to be distributed and accounted.  One’s employment is often contingent on lawful presence in the country of the organization, and there may be tax obligations or penalties associated with changing one’s legal or marital status.

First Steps

With all of these considerations, if you are considering a divorce or separation from a spouse or partner abroad, it is important to consult legal counsel, who can guide you to appropriate and accurate resources and ensure that the delicate and potentially complicated process of international divorce is handled with a minimum of stress, unnecessary delays, and expense.  At Schwartz | White, our experienced family law attorneys in Boca Raton can assist you and your family in navigating family law issues and can provide accurate and up-to-date information regarding how and where to pursue your case. Call 561-391-9943 today for a consultation.

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