International Divorce

Many times, those who were married in another country and travel to the United States to live, find that they are in need of a divorce but do not know where to begin. A common myth is that you have to return to your home country or to the country where you were married to get your divorce– this is not true. If you are currently living in the United States, then you can file for divorce in the U.S.

Divorces are the subject of state law and should be obtained in the state/country where at least one of the parties has lived. If you have lived in Florida for six months you can get divorced in Florida no matter where you were married. Our law firm has attorneys who are experienced in both divorce and immigration, so the complexities of international divorces are well known to us. We have helped clients who have an invalid divorce because it wasn’t done properly. This can cause a second marriage to be bigamous and also cause paternity issues for children born later. In the long run, it is far more expensive when other legal issues are caused by doing it wrong the first time. Don’t risk and invalid divorce with inadequate representation or attempting to go at it alone.


  1. Will my divorce obtained outside the US be valid here?

Foreign divorce decrees are generally recognized by the state of Florida so long as the jurisdictional element has been met and there has been due process in serving the other spouse.

  1. What do you mean by jurisdiction?

Subject matter jurisdiction is the court’s power to hear the case.

In order for Florida to have jurisdiction over your family case, you or the other party must have resided in Florida for 6 months prior to filing.

  1. Can I get a divorce in Florida if I was married outside the United States?

Yes!  Many people think that they have to go back to the country where they were married to obtain a divorce.  This is not true.  If either party is a Florida resident for 6 months you can file in Florida.

  1. My spouse and I have lived separate for a long time and I do not know where my spouse lives, can I still get a divorce?

Yes. You must show the court that you made a diligent search to find out the location of the spouse and then you can proceed with publication in the newspaper. The diligent search process is very specific. One of our attorneys can discuss this with you in a consultation.

  1. What’s different about an international divorce?

Each country has different protocols for how to serve a resident of a certain country. So, the attorney needs to look at the specific country to determine the requirements for service.

  1. What is an apostille and will I need one?

An Apostille is a certificate issued by an authority of that State/Country showing that the document is an authenticate document.  Each apostille is specific as to the state/country issuing and the country it will be used.  If you are serving foreign court documents, you will need an apostille but the firm can handle the request for you.

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