How can I divorce my husband who lives out of the counrty?

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How can I divorce my husband who lives out of the counrty?

My husband and I have been separated for 2 years (in MN) and he has been deported to Mexico for being an illegal alien. He also wants a divorce, but he will not take the time and effort to sign and return any documents I send to Mexico. We have no children or property to divide. I don’t see a need for a lawyer and would like to proceed with the divorce but not sure what I need to do.

Asked on June 22, 2011 under Family Law, Minnesota

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In a case where one spouse wants to divorce but the other spouse is being uncooperative, a divorce may still be obtained. While a spouse can refuse to sign divorce papers, all this really does is delay the inevitable. This type of divorece is called a "divorce by default".

To begin divorce proceedings, you must file a petition in the court that has jurisdiction over the marriage. Once this has been done the petition is served to the other spouse. The other spouse becomes the "respondent" and the filing spouse becomes the "petitioner." In the case of a respondent who resides out of the country that are certain notice requirements that must be met (they vary from state-to-state).

Generally, the respondent has 20-30 days to provide a response. If the respondent failss to answer the petition, the petitioner may file a notice of "default" with the court (since the respondent failed to answer the petition in the time allowed.

A copy of the petitioner's application for a default must be served on the respondent. Again special notice provisions apply to an a respondent who lives outside of the US. After the default notice has been served, the respondent typically has several weeks has to file a response. If the respondent does not answer to the court within the time allowed, the petitioner then appears before the court in order for the court to make a decision as to whether or not to grant the divorce. The judge will base the ruling solely on the evidence presented by the petitioner. At this point the court generally grants a divorce of the terms that the petitioner has requested (alimony, custody, child support, division pf property, etc).

As a general rule, the respondent has the right to ask the court to "vacate" or (undo) its order but there is a strict requirements for doing so. If those requirements are not met the decree will stand.

At this point you should contact a divorce attorney who can help you with all of this.


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