How to get divorce when a spouse moves toa foreigncountry?

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How to get divorce when a spouse moves toa foreigncountry?

Approximately 3 years ago I got married in VA to an Indian girl who was a student living in the US on F1 visa. She got her conditional green card after getting married to me. We lived together for 3 years but 6 months ago, she deserted me and now she lives back  in India. Her conditional green card has already expired. We don’t have any kids and we don’t own any property. She doesn’t have any plans to come back into the US. I want to divorce her. When will I be eligible to file a divorce ? How this divorce thing works in my case?

Asked on September 25, 2010 under Family Law, Virginia

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I realize that divorce can be complicated enough without adding the element of a spouse who lives in another country. However, obtaining a divorce when one of the spouse's lives outside the US is not impossible (although 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 requirements - 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 your case, you will have to serve your wife notice of the divorce proceedings in India. If you don't know where she is living, then in that case,  you can publish notice in a newspaper (known as "divorce by publication").  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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