It depends. Where you were born, where you married, where you pursue the
divorce, and the various local laws, rites, and beliefs that come into play affect
the validity of a divorce. For example, a couple may have been born in
a different country, but they work in Long Island. They may be able to
get a "mail-order" divorce. Without having to leave the country,
they can submit paperwork to their native county. This can help a couple
operate according to the laws which they understand more, and it can save
But will New York recognize this as valid? If neither spouse attended court,
then this goes against New York divorce law. So no, this divorce would
not be recognized as valid. To count an international divorce as valid,
each spouse must receive ample notice. At least one of the spouses has
to appear in court. If the other spouse does not show up in court, then
he or she must file some written permission to allow the foreign court
to proceed with the divorce. All of these conditions must be met if New
York will acknowledge the foreign divorce decree.
If the above requirements have been fulfilled, then you will further have
to get a certified copy of your divorce decree from the court that made
it. You will also need someone to authenticate the certificate before
it can be used in the United States. The document must also be translated
in English and certified as a valid translation. If and only if your foreign
divorce counts in New York, then
equitable distribution of property and support payments may be ordered.
So what if you need to challenge a foreign divorce? You may not always
be able to. You cannot counter the divorce decree if you willingly attended
the foreign court and submitted a response. If you went along with the
divorce decree's mandates, then you also have no viable reaction to
it. If either you or your ex-spouse remarried because of the divorce decree,
then the divorce cannot be overturned. That being said, if your spouse
submitted a "mail-order" divorce or utilized some other method
without your knowing or without your attendance, then you may be able
to counter the divorce. This is true even if your spouse remarried because
of the invalid foreign divorce.
Divorce is already complicated enough when only one jurisdiction is involved.
When the laws of other nations have to be consulted, the complexity increases
exponentially. Not only will you need someone with expertise in New York
divorce law, but you will need to work with an attorney who will understand
foreign divorce law as well. If you have questions about pursuing an overseas
divorce or the validity of your foreign divorce, please do not hesitate to
contact the Meyers Law Group, P.C. With our firm, you could have a Long Island divorce lawyer who provides
the knowledge and experience you deserve.