Everyone knows that divorce is difficult and complicated. Legal difficulties and complications can be compounded when the divorce crosses international borders.
Cases in which this may occur are ones in which the couple is getting a divorce in the United States but;
Property owned by one or both spouses is located in a different country-
Just because a judge in the United States signs a divorce decree that divides foreign property, that doesn’t mean that the foreign country will respect and enforce that decree, especially if the foreign country has not signed treaties with the United States.
It isn’t just about U.S. law anymore! International law and the law of the foreign country must be consulted. If the foreign country is a Muslim country, that law will have to be considered as well.
It would be a terrible if you were to find out that you have property awarded to you but can never collect or own it, and the foreign authorities refuse to help!
Before you agree to a split of property that includes foreign property, make sure that the agreement is able to be enforced! Your international divorce attorney can consult with an attorney in the foreign country before the property separation is finalized.
One or both spouses and/or their child are citizens of another country or have dual citizenship or one or both spouses works, lives, or visits another country and will want to take the children along-
When working out visitation, custody and travel arrangements, it is important for the divorcing couple to know the laws in the foreign country which relate to child custody and visitation. It is also important to be aware of the restrictions the U.S. Department of State and U.S.C.I.S. may place upon minor children traveling when both parents are not with them. In addition, if a child is not a U.S. citizen, it is important to be sure that s/he has all paperwork in place that allows him/her to leave the country and come back without a negative effect on immigration status.
Some sensational (and sad) cases have made international news in the past 10 years – cases of children being caught in the middle of custody and visitation fights in which there is a conflict of laws.
It would be very terrible to send your child to visit another country and find out that the authorities would not enforce his/her return to you.
Collection of Child Support, Spousal Support or other money due to you-
Again, just because a United States judge signs an order, it doesn’t mean that it will be considered valid everywhere in the world. And, even if it is valid, collecting money when you or your ex-spouse lives in different countries may cost more than the money that you are trying to collect!
Your international divorce attorney can help by making sure that you are realistic about what to expect and consult with the right professionals in the foreign country at the proper time.
Summary: In ALL divorce cases it is important to share important information with your divorce attorney, but it is ESPECIALLY important in international divorce to be sure that your attorney is aware of the important details. If you have a trusted attorney in the other country with whom you are familiar, give your U.S. attorney his/her contact information and allow them to talk with each other when necessary. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.