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Getting a Divorce When Your Spouse is a Resident of Another Country 1

These days, interracial marriages are common and a divorce is sometimes unavoidable. You can’t help but wonder if it’s possible to get a divorce when your spouse is in another country. Like for instance, you are an American citizen residing in Texas and you married someone from Spain, and you did the ceremony in Texas but you decided to live in Spain. After a while, things get sour and you want a divorce. How can you go through the process of getting a divorce when your spouse is in another country?

Since the ceremony was done in the United States, you can definitely file for a divorce in an American court. The laws that would cover your divorce won’t be any different from the ones that would cover a normal divorce with the couple both in the United States.

However, there are different steps that would need to be taken in your case. You might want to hire an attorney to make things easier, but here are some tips that you need to know that would be helpful in your divorce case.

Go for a Settlement

Getting a divorce when   of you are in the US is complicated as it is and when one spouse is in another country, it’s even more difficult. It’s not impossible though.

If you can negotiate with your spouse and reach a settlement without taking your case to court, it will make things a lot easier – not to mention faster.

You will need to reach an agreement about the division of properties, child support and conservatorship and even visitation schedule.

Waive Service

Once you have reached a settlement with your spouse, you can have service waived. When service is waived, the Texas court would no longer need to provide notices and other legal paperwork needed for the divorce to your spouse.

There are appropriate documents to be signed for this. You will have to send an affidavit to your spouse that acknowledges that he or she received the petition and he or she is waiving his/her right to be served through legal methods.

Despite this, your spouse may still be notified by the court of some pertinent information. After signing the affidavit, your spouse will need to have it notarized at the US Embassy in the country he/she is currently at and then mail it back to you. You can then file this in court.

Refer to the Hague

If your spouse won’t agree to negotiations and waiving of service, formal service will be needed. In that case, you can make use of the terms provided by the Hague Convention on Service. It’s an agreement that most countries in the world are part of and it basically allows service to be done the same way in any part of the world.

We all know that negotiating between countries can be challenging if not downright complicated. This agreement contains the rules and terms that can make international service easier.

The terms includes mailing translated and authenticated copies of the divorce documents you filed at your Texas court together with other pertinent documents to your spouse’s address in another country.

The country where your spouse resides may have a different set of rules in accomplishing services, but once accomplished, they will send you a certificate that acknowledges that service has been officially received. You can then file this in the Texas court where you filed for divorce.

If none of these works, your last resort would be to have the service done by registered mail and publication. These are not really great options however. Through these methods, your spouse might overturn the divorce.

If you serve him or her personally, it will be more difficult for your spouse to do so. If your spouse tries to be difficult about your divorce case, it can surely delay the divorce proceedings.

It will be best to hire an experienced and efficient attorney who can help you out not only with service but in sorting out everything with your spouse even if you have to take the divorce case to court.

If you have a trustworthy divorce attorney by your side, you can trust that the divorce process will be done as quickly as possible and you won’t need to leave any margin for mistakes in the processing and filing either.

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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas. If you have any questions you can contact him at