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Will Your Foreign Divorce Count in New York?

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 them money.

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.