international divorce

Unique Issues with Divorce for International Couples

International couples face a variety of struggles that domestic couples will never have to think about. Unfortunately, some of these issues only get more complicated when they make the decision to divorce. Whether the marriage happened in the United States or abroad, you’ll likely face a longer waiting time and a more complex negotiation process during an international divorce.

Fortunately, you don’t have to navigate this complex area of divorce law on your own. At Kirk Drennan Law, we know how important it is that you get what you need out of your divorce and that the process is completed swiftly. Set up a consultation now by calling us at 205-953-1424.

Visa and Green Card Concerns

One of the biggest issues that commonly arises in international divorce is one spouse’s ability to stay in the United States. If they want to leave the United States, that’s not generally an issue—although hopefully, they’ll stay until the divorce is finalized, lest the process be dragged out.

If the immigrant spouse wants to stay in the country, that depends entirely on where they are in the green card or citizenship process and their ability to support themselves independently. If the spouse already has citizenship, that’s unlikely to be affected. If they’ve had their green card for a long period of time, it may not be affected.

However, if the international spouse only recently got their green card, that could catch the attention of immigration officials. This is a red flag that the marriage may have been fraudulent and that the international partner was only in it to get their green card. This could lead to a string of issues with immigration proceedings, or it could lead the foreign partner to fight the divorce.

If the foreign partner’s ability to stay in the country is based on their ability to provide for themselves, this can obviously be an issue during divorce. If they do not yet have the ability to work when they divorce or their spouse is their sponsor, they could be forced to leave the country.

Where the Marriage Occurred Could Be an Issue

If you were married in the United States, it’s simply a standard divorce. However, if the marriage was legalized in another country, plan on putting in a little bit of legwork to prove the legality of your marriage. This may involve hiring professional translations of marriage documents and securing official copies from abroad.

Division of Property

As part of your divorce, you will need to negotiate a fair division of marital property. This is already difficult for domestic couples, but it’s even more time-consuming for international couples that have spent any amount of time living abroad. The assets acquired in those countries may be subject to different laws and division standards than those assets purchased in the United States. Be ready to catalog and assess your marital assets for a fair and legal division of assets.

Child Support and Alimony

These issues are largely complicated only if one spouse plans on returning to their country of origin. If they do but are ordered to pay child support or alimony, the spouse who remains in the United States may or may not be able to actually collect those payments. Much depends on the foreign spouse’s country of origin, whether or not they will interfere in international family matters, and if the foreign spouse wants to fulfill those obligations.

Child Custody Issues

Child custody is often a serious concern for the American spouse. While their ex-partner may choose to stay in the United States so they can raise their children, there are often lingering concerns about parental kidnapping.

While there are legal safeguards in place to prevent children from leaving the country without both parents’ permission, those safeguards are not completely failsafe. When they do fail, the parent in the United States may struggle to get their child back. If this is relevant to your divorce, make sure to bring it up with your attorney immediately.

Don’t Face This Alone—Call Kirk Drennan Law Now

While international divorce may be more difficult than a domestic divorce, it isn’t impossible. Get the right team on your side by connecting with Kirk Drennan Law. Set up a consultation by messaging us online or calling us at 205-953-1424.

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