Can I Get A Divorce If My Spouse Lives In Another State Or Country?
Divorce proceedings can become more complex if you want to file for divorce and your spouse lives in another state or a different country entirely. However, that is not to say the divorce process is impossible. There are simply likely to be various complications and potentially other hoops you must jump through, depending on the specifics of your situation.
Here at Cannon & Associates, we know that the decision to file for divorce is rarely an easy one. There is a lot to consider, even before the added complexity of divorcing an out-of-state spouse. Depending on how amicable your divorce is likely to be, you may need to consider official paperwork, child support arrangements, child custody divisions, how assets will be split, and many other factors.
That is why a divorce lawyer from our law firm will always bring their wealth of experience, skill, and compassion to your case to try to ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible. We will stop at nothing to minimize friction, settle conflict, and fight for the best divorce settlement for you.
Let us make your divorce filing process as easy as possible. Call 405-591-3935 for a free consultation.
Divorcing A Spouse Who Is Not In The Same State
Thankfully, the answer to the question of ‘Can I get a divorce if my spouse lives in another state or country?’ is usually yes.
The minimum requirement for a divorce in Oklahoma’s state laws is a residency requirement. This requires that you or your spouse need to have been an actual Oklahoma resident living in the state for at least six months before you can file for divorce. Furthermore, you must have spent the previous 30 days inside the state.
Being able to provide evidence of fulfilling Oklahoma state’s residency requirements can be essential here. You may choose to show the court your driver’s license, a voter registration card, or the lease agreement for your in-state home.
These laws do not apply to residents of U.S. Army posts or military reservations.
You Will Still Need To Serve Divorce Papers To Your Out-Of-State Spouse
Unfortunately, even if at least one spouse meets the residency requirements, things can still be complicated.
This is because you must properly notify your spouse that you are filing for divorce. As such, they must be served with a copy of the divorce summons, the divorce petition, and all other necessary documentation – essentially everything involved in the usual in-state serving process associated with a divorce case.
Depending on the details of your situation, you may be able to serve these documents to your spouse through certified mail. You may also be able to hire an attorney or process server to serve your spouse on your behalf.
Once these papers have been served, the Oklahoma state court will have personal jurisdiction over your errant spouse. However, if you do not know where your spouse is, serving these papers may be easier said than done.
What If You Cannot Contact Your Spouse To Serve The Initial Petition?
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon that one spouse may not know where the other spouse currently resides. This can make filing for divorce more difficult, as the other spouse will still need to be properly notified.
It may be possible for you to uncover the location of the spouse by discovering a forwarding address, by talking to friends or relatives, or through internet research. There are many other avenues possible, such as the use of a personal investigator. A lawyer may also be able to help guide you in your search.
Courts in some Oklahoma counties may allow you to practice service by publication. This is where the divorce summons is published in a newspaper that has the authorization to print notices of a legal nature. This can take the place of a physical serving.
If you are unsure how to proceed in a situation where you have no idea where your spouse resides, call us today for a free consultation to explore your options.
How Do You Serve Divorce Papers If Your Spouse Lives In A Foreign Country?
Depending on the situation, the filing part of a divorce process can be even more complex if your spouse now lives in another country.
First, you should contact a lawyer to ensure that you are doing everything properly. If you do not properly follow the country’s process laws, that country may refuse to recognize, and therefore enforce, your divorce petition.
Usually, the process will involve getting in touch with the foreign country’s embassy or the U.S. Department of State. The laws of the country in question and any treaties with the United States will then determine how the divorce proceedings take place. If there are treaties between the two countries, it is likely that the Hague Service Convention procedures will also need to be followed.
Similarly to when you file for divorce with an out-of-state spouse, there should be ways to serve your spouse without you needing to physically go to their country. You may be able to use a process server, attorney, or certified mail.
Out-Of-Country Divorce Proceedings Involving Children
There will be additional requirements on your divorce petition if your spouse is outside of the United States and the two of you have children.
In this case, your summons and the petition when you file for divorce need to comply with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act, as well as the federal Parental Kidnap Prevention Act. You must ensure you are in compliance before you serve your spouse. Your Oklahoma divorce attorney will be able to help you with this.
How To Choose Which State To File For Divorce In?
If both spouses reside in different states, or if either of you meet the residency requirements for multiple states, it can be difficult to know which state to file for divorce in.
It is important to realize that different states will handle divorce cases in different ways. Most states will have different laws surrounding divorce, including the equitable distribution of marital property, child support or spousal support agreements, and child custody arrangements. These have the potential to impact what your final divorce settlement could look like.
Again, this situation is likely to look different depending on the circumstances of your divorce. A married couple going through an amicable breakup who agree on the divorce terms may look to see which state’s laws offer the quickest, smoothest path to separation.
However, if your spouse is living in a different state and the divorce is likely to be a messy one, full of disagreements and requiring arbitration or a settlement in court, the state with jurisdiction over the process can make a big difference. Generally speaking, the first petition to be filed will determine which state takes jurisdiction of the case.
Full Faith and Credit For Recognizing Divorces
Usually, other states must recognize your divorce, even if it was granted in a different state. This is due to the provision of the Full Faith and Credit clause in the Constitution of the United States. This clause states that all states must uphold any valid court order from different states.
However, situations do exist in which a state can lawfully not recognize a divorce ordered from other states. This is usually due to one of the following situations:
- If you did not properly notify and serve your spouse when filing for divorce.
- If the state court that the court orders came from in the first place never had the authority or jurisdiction to decide the divorce case.
- If you did not meet the residency requirements in the state where the divorce case was decided.
This is why it is essential that you fulfill all of the above criteria when you file for divorce. Even if you think you meet the residency requirements, make sure you provide proof in the form of a driver’s license, voter ID, or other proof to ensure that these residency requirements are met in the eyes of the court.
If you are unsure about any of the above, an experienced divorce lawyer from our firm can help you.
Contact Us For Assistance With Your Out-Of-State Divorce Petition
We understand that when you file for a divorce, it is likely that you want the most favorable divorce settlement possible with the least amount of friction and complication involved in the process itself.
However, unfortunately, spouses filing for a divorce when their spouse resides either in a different state or a different country may encounter difficulties in several ways. It could be that your spouse moved recently and you have no idea how to contact them to serve them. It could be that you are unsure of the jurisdictional requirements of the states where it is possible for you to file for divorce. Whatever your query, confusion, or concern, our law firm can help you.
Here at Cannon & Associates, our legal team has a wealth of experience handling the complexities of multi-state divorce cases across many states. It all starts today with a free consultation, where we can tell you what to expect from your divorce journey.Make your divorce process as painless as possible. Call Cannon & Associates today at 405-591-3935.
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