What is the process of filing for divorce with someone who lives and is a citizen overseas?

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What is the process of filing for divorce with someone who lives and is a citizen overseas?

I was married in 2005 to a French citizen. We separated due to irreconcilable differences and he has long since returned to France (without obtaining US citizenship). I would like to attempt to file the papers myself. We have communicated via e-mail and he is willing to proceed with the divorce. What is the most efficient and cost effective way to proceed? For him to waive service? Jurisdiction? What is the process for serving papers in France, and with whom, if I choose that route? Would I be better of hiring a divorce attorney? In Atalnta, GA.

Asked on April 19, 2011 under Family Law, Georgia

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

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.  This is true even if the other spouse lives out of the country.  In your case, you will have to serve your husband notice of the divorce proceedings in France (he cannot waive this requirement).  While this procedure varies from-state-to-state, in general you need to have your husband served in a legally binding way that will show the court that he received the papers (or that you made a legitimate attempt to do so).  Again, overseas service of process varies.  Your best bet is to find a divorce attorney in your area, preferably one experienced in international divorce.  Bottom line, obtaining a divorce when one of the spouse's lives outside the US is more difficult than a purely domestic divorce.


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