How do I divorce a non-USresident if I live in the US?

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How do I divorce a non-USresident if I live in the US?

I am married to a citizen of the UK. We have been separated for 4 years. I do not know how to proceed in filing for divorce. He still lives in the UK but is staying abroad in Japan for a year. I am a NY state resident. We were married in the UK. Is there any way for me to file for divorce here? Should I speak with a NY divorce attorney? In Long Island City, NY.

Asked on November 26, 2010 under Family Law, New York

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You can absolutely file for divorce in the US no matter where you were married (subject to residency requirements; see below).  However, obtaining a divorce when one of the spouse's lives outside the US is slightly more difficult than a purely domestic divorce.  State courts maintain jurisdiction over all divorces in that state and they can enter divorce decrees for any marriage that meets the legal pre-requisites - including divorces for couples in which one spouse lives in another country. Every state's divorce laws are different, but all require that as long as just 1 spouse meets the state's residency requirement, a divorce can be filed there - even if the other spouse lives outside the country (in NY you must have been a rsidne tof the state 1 year prieor to filing). You will have to serve your husband notice of the divorce proceedings.  If you don't know where he is currently living living, you can publish notice in a newspaper (known as "divorce by publication")at his last known legal address.  If your spouse does not answer in the legal time period specified, then the court can grant you a divorce on the terms that you have requested. The exact steps for serving your spouse overseas or for filing for a "divorce by publication" will be dictated by your local state law.  You should speak to a divorce attorney in your area.


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