If I’m a non-US citizen who was married in the US but now lives in the EU, how doI file for divorce if my husband is a US citizen and still resides there?

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If I’m a non-US citizen who was married in the US but now lives in the EU, how doI file for divorce if my husband is a US citizen and still resides there?

I would like to end my marriage that took place 2 years ago in WA. I was in the US on a visa waiver and during my stay I agreed to marry an American citizen (my boyfriend at the time). My husband lives in PA and I live in the Czech Republic, EU. I have been waiting for 1 year for him to file for divorce. Nothing has been done. So, I want to file for divorce (or annulment if possible) myself. How can I file (if at all) and where?

Asked on February 3, 2011 under Family Law, Washington

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In order to file in the United States one, you need to be present here and two, you need to be able to prove residency for a certain amount of time in the state and county in which you wish to file for the court to have what is known as "jurisdiction" over you to file.  Then you have to serve your husband for the court to be able to have "jurisdiction" over him to decide on the fate of your marriage.  So you can not file here.  Now, generally speaking the United States recognizes divorces issued in other countries (through what is known as the Full Filth and Credit provision of the Constitution and Comity).  It is not going to be easy because you will have issues of service on him in the United States, etc., and if he is not agreeable then you are stuck.  Is there any way that you can contact him through an attorney in Pennsylvania and see if the attorney can get him to agree to file a no-fault divorce and settle the matter between you?  That may be your best bet here.  Good luck to you. 


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