Is this marriage still valid?

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Is this marriage still valid?

My girlfriend got married in Colombia 8 years ago before coming to the U.S.

She came in with a tourist visa. Here the man commited domestic violence 6 years ago and was deported back to Colombia, also with a restraining order. He cannot have any physical contact with her or contact her. Does she still have

to file a divorce or is this marriage no longer valid? It’s been 6 years already

and he has no interest in her or the 2 kids they had together.

Asked on September 20, 2016 under Family Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Marriages are not ended by distance, by criminal acts or violence, by disinterest or even abandonment--they are legal relationships and must be ended in the eyes of the law by legal process (i.e. by divorce). Until she divorces him, she is still married to him. That means that if she were in a coma or unresponsive state and he became aware of it, he could make medical decisions for her; if she were to die, the children might go to him, especially if he were to seek them--and even if she doesn't die, he could seek and exercise some parental rights; and if she dies, he inherits from her. Obviously, as a practical reason, him being deported to another country and having no contact with her for years makes these things (other than inheritance; if she dies, the probate court, etc. would have to try to find him and give him her assets, even if he is in a different country) less likely, but they could happen; therefore, she really needs to hire a family/divorce law attorney and get divorced as quickly as possible.


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