How should someone who is currently living out of the country and who wants a divorce, handle the paperwork in America?

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How should someone who is currently living out of the country and who wants a divorce, handle the paperwork in America?

Married in US but both now currently both live in Jamaica but they do not live together. The marriage was never a real marriage (he only signed the papers because she attended a Catholic college while pregnant with his child). They have a 3 year-old daughter together but the child lives with her grandparents (his parents), and receives full support from her grandparents. The husband would like to file for a divorce in the US because if he does it in Jamaica, the process will be prolonged for more than 2 years. What are the steps he can take to get the divorce, if both parties have agreed to it.

Asked on August 1, 2011 Florida

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am sorry for your situation and the way that your life together has unfolded.  Especially for your child.  You can only file for divorce in a state in the United States  if you are a resident of the United States.  In order for a court to be able to make a decision over the fate of your marriage they must have what is known as "jurisdiction" over the subject matter and also the people involved.  This is basic to every lawsuit.  For example, you can not file for divorce in a criminal court.  The judge is not allowed to hear divorce cases.  Also a court in Kentucky, say, can not make a decision over a couple in Alabama who do not have any connection to Kentucky.  You have given the state of origin in this question as Florida so I will use it as an example here.  To obtain a dissolution of marriage, one of the parties to the marriage must reside 6 months in the state before the filing of the petition. The dissolution of marriage can be filed in the county in which either or both spouses reside. (Florida Statutes - Chapters: 61.021).  And the issue of your daughter needs to be addressed here unless the grandparents are legal guardians.  Good luck. 


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