Although any divorce is not a pleasant experience, international divorces can be even more so as they can involve more complex circumstances for divorce lawyers and their clients as well as create many challenges such as dealing with one spouse no longer living in the United States.

Texas divorces that cross borders require careful discussion with divorce attorneys experienced in handling such cases, as they may be more complicated to resolve.

What Is The Definition of An International Divorce?

International divorces involve spouse who have citizenship from different countries but no longer live in that country, invoking most often the question of which country has jurisdiction over the divorce.

It could also include being married outside of the United States, having adopted a child during the marriage who was not born in the United States, or owning property outside of the U.S.

How Is An International Divorce Filed in Texas?

Filing any divorce in Texas including an international one requires first meeting the jurisdictional requirements to proceed with a divorce in Texas.

Those requirements state that one or both spouses:

  • Must be living in Texas for at least the last 6 months
  • Must have lived a minimum of 90 days in the county where the divorce is filed.

After establishing jurisdictional requirements, couples and their divorce lawyers must then investigate the divorce laws in the other involved country as divorce law are often extremely different from one country to another.

This can be ;a very challenging part of the process, as every country has different laws regarding divorce, property distribution, and child custody.

In many cases, the involved family court in Texas family court cannot finalize a divorce that will be valid in the other country and complete finalization of the divorce will require handling through the other country’s legal system as well.

What Happens If One Spouse Lives Outside the US?

In situations where one spouse qualifies to file in Texas and the other spouse lives out of the country, one of the biggest issues is serving the divorce papers.

Divorce attorneys recommend finding a way to serve divorce papers while the other spouse is in Texas; however, that often isn't possible.

When it’s impossible to serve the papers within the United States, the serving spouse may have to serve papers by publication, personally, registered or certified mail, a central authority, or letters rogatory requesting service from that country's court system.

The easiest way when your spouse lives in another country is to ask him or her to waive service via an affidavit notarized at an American embassy.

A Final Look at International Divorce

As you can clearly see, getting a divorce that involves crossed borders can be challenging, time-consuming, and often a lot of expense.

If you are attempting to divorce your spouse who no longer lives in the United States, talk to a divorce lawyer before filing for divorce to see if that will be feasible for you to do.

An attorney experienced in international divorce will be able to assess the situation and research the legal requirements, then help a spouse filing for divorce in the U.S. know what must be done to file for and obtain a legal international divorce across borders.

Garza & Elizondo, LLP

Downtown Brownsville
Principal Office
680 East St. Charles St, Suite 600
Brownsville TX 78520
(956) 202-0067

San Benito
Meetings With Attorneys By Appointment Only
2395 La Palma Street, Suite A
San Benito TX 78586
(956) 202-0067