- Complex Matrimonial Matters
- Domestic Violence
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International divorce is the term given to a dissolution of a marriage when the spouses live in different countries. But in fact, the divorce is obtained in only one country, and the spouse seeking it must follow that country’s laws. If you live in Florida and want to file for divorce here against your spouse who lives abroad, Florida law applies. However, special rules govern whether a Florida court is empowered to grant the divorce.
First and foremost, the Florida court must have jurisdiction over your spouse. The Florida long-arm statute provides jurisdiction if your spouse has sufficient contacts within the state. This requirement can be met if your spouse has a Florida domicile, which means having lived in Florida subsequent to the marriage, whether with you or not. However, that residence must be close in time to when the divorce is filed.
There are other types of contacts your spouse may have in Florida, such as:
A Florida divorce attorney experienced with international divorce can analyze whether your spouse has Florida contacts that can satisfy the long-arm statute.
To proceed with the divorce, you must locate your spouse. You should find their residential address, their work address and any other contact information. You can search by using social media, online search tools and communications with mutual acquaintances or family members.
The next step is service of process. This means providing official notice to your spouse that divorce proceedings are to begin. Unless your spouse agrees to waive formal service, the divorce papers — consisting a summons and a petition for divorce — must be delivered by an individual qualified to serve process under the laws of your spouse’s country of residence.
Your attorney might work with a professional process server, an attorney or even a government agency in the country where your spouse is living in order to comply with local laws. The service may have to comply with the Hague Service Convention or another international agreement, such as the Inter-American Convention on Letters Rogatory, if the spouse’s country is a party.
If your spouse cannot be located, or if personal service of process cannot be accomplished for whatever reason, your attorney can explore alternative methods, such as publication in a local newspaper or service through diplomatic channels. If your spouse ever visits Florida, you may be able to have him or her served personally here.
If you are seeking a divorce from a spouse overseas, The Law Offices of Lawrence S. Katz, P.A. in Miami has the knowledge and skill needed to conduct the proceeding efficiently and to protect your interests. Call us at 305-670-8656 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.
For many years, Lawrence S. Katz has helped clients in Florida, throughout the United States and abroad. He has earned an excellent worldwide reputation for providing knowledgeable, quality representation in cross border family law matters and child abduction. He serves as counsel, co-counsel, consultant and expert witness.