Is a foreign marriage legal here in the US?

I married someone in South America. We have been married a little over a year. I have never lived there no he here. I have been there to see him 4 times (including when we got married). The longest I have stayed is around 15 days. We have not been in contact in 6 months (our anniversary month). I have just learned that he is now here in the US. I had previously contacted an attorney to get a divorce here but do not have the funds. At that time, I was advised that I wasn’t technically married in the US, only if I go back to South America.

Asked on November 9, 2011 under Family Law, Ohio


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry that things did not work out between you and your Husband.  It is unclear to e why an attorney would tell you that the marriage to your husband in South America is not valid.  The trouble with giving guidance in this type of forum is that we can not see the documentation involved.  Generally speaking, as long as the proper documentation was filed in the foreign country and the marriage is valid in that country then it is recognized as valid here in the United States and under the "full faith and credit" clause of the Constitution.  If your husband is now here and will consent to the divorce (and as long as you now meet the residency requirements of the state in which you live - which I am assuming is Ohio) then you can file for divorce here and have him served.  Or you can both consent to a no-fault divorce.  Good luck.

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