There are a few situations in which you might seek a divorce in another country. If you are a citizen of another country, you might consider this option. Here, I will discuss some particulars involved with international divorce.


In many of these international cases where one spouse is a U.S. citizen and the other is foreign, problems arise. This happens because marriages are oftentimes the reason for a spouse to have a U.S. Permanent Residence. With the marriage dissolved, one spouse may not get to stay in the United States. Another problem could come from both spouses being from foreign nations on a temporary business visa. If only one spouse has a work visa, the other, non-employed spouse can’t stay in America after divorce.

Issues with International Divorce

If a couple files for divorce, they might not have a problem living in different countries. However, this can become a huge issue when dealing with child support and child custody. If one spouse lacks a visa and must return to another country, visitations and other rights become compromised. You should discuss relocation before divorce occurs. This can try and make the changes and the process as easy as possible for the child.

In 2006, a law passed in Connecticut making it easier for parents to relocate. The Act is a result of the decision of the Connecticut Supreme Court in Ireland v. Ireland, 246 Conn. 413, 428, 717 A.2d 676 (1998). If one parent has a legitimate purpose for relocating, it becomes easier for the parent to maintain visitation or custody rights. Despite this new law, it is still difficult to deal with international divorce.

If you are from a different country, you might be unsure of what your citizenship status will be after divorce. You should discuss your options with an attorney who specializes in international law and divorce. Get proactive and explore all of your options before the divorce ends. This way, you can make the most informed decision possible. If you find a way for you to remain in the country without staying married to a citizen, try to make that happen.


States do not have to legally recognize foreign divorces. However, many divorces that occur in foreign countries become validated by the United States through comity. Comity refers to the respect that one country’s court system has for another’s. Comity allows one country to enforce the court decisions made by another country. When determining if the United States will accept your divorce, consider some factors. If you or your spouse live in a foreign country, and you decide to divorce there, the United States will usually recognize it.

Public Policy

However, if you are both residents of America and you take a trip to another country specifically to get a divorce, that divorce might not be enforced once you return home. Another major factor in determining if your foreign divorce will get enforced in the United States or not is if the spouse that was served with the divorce received notice of the divorce. If the spouse didn’t have enough notice of the application for divorce, the court will not recognize or enforce it. Public policy can also play a role in the United States’ decision to validate a foreign divorce. If public policy becomes by the divorce decision, the United States will generally reject it. For example, if a foreign divorce comes to a child custody decision that does not represent the best interest of the child, the court won’t enforce it.

Types of Foreign Divorce

There are four kinds of foreign divorces – ex parte divorces, void divorces, bilateral divorces, and practical recognition divorces. An ex parte divorce involves one spouse being physically present in the foreign country where the divorce was filed, with the other spouse not present in that country, but giving notice and consent of the divorce. A void divorce has similarities to an ex parte divorce, but the spouse not present does not receive notice. The United States usually rejects this type of divorce. A bilateral divorce occurs when both spouses are present in the foreign divorcing country, or when one spouse is represented by an attorney in the foreign country. A practical recognition divorce occurs when consent by both parties occurs for the divorce to proceed in another country.

Ex Parte Divorce

An ex parte divorce will get enforced in every state as long as you follow some rules. In order for your ex parte divorce to have validation in the United States, you need to meet the residency requirements for the state that you live in. The court’s decision to hear the divorce case becomes determined by the residency of the party filing for divorce.

You must file for the divorce in the state that you are either domicile of or a resident of. Domicile occurs when you have a permanent home in the state or country, residence is determined by the time you have been present in the state. State laws determine residency, so it will vary from state to state. In some states, you will only have to live there for a month or two to get considered a resident. In other states, you must live there for a year or longer to get considered a resident.

Residency Laws

Before you file for divorce, consult a divorce attorney about the residency laws in your state or county. Your divorce could get considered invalid if you don’t have the proper residency requirements. In addition, it is important to consider jurisdiction. A state court normally has authority over a person if they have some kind of relationship with the state, such as working or living there. However, there is a status exception to jurisdiction if you are applying for an ex parte divorce. This means that if you have jurisdiction in one state because you live there, but your spouse lives elsewhere, the state can still have jurisdiction over your spouse and can determine your marital status as a result.

Even when you meet the residency requirements, you must also be sure to follow other rules. If you want to file for divorce, you must give your spouse adequate notice that you intend to file for an ex parte divorce. Written notice should go to your spouse and they should have enough time to consider your proposition and give consent. If both parties don’t give their consent, the divorce will not be valid. If you follow the above rules, your divorce should get accepted under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution. This clause indicates that states must recognize laws and court orders of other states. In most cases, all states will honor the divorce. If you do not meet these requirements, any given state has no obligation to validate your divorce.