The International Divorce Process

The International Divorce Process

Sometimes a couple’s divorce is complicated because one of the spouses lives overseas or is a resident of another country. The international divorce process can be complicated because the divorce requires an intersection between international law and American law. While there may be special considerations when filing for an international divorce, don’t let that stop you from getting a divorce if you believe your relationship needs one. Contact an experienced South Carolina international divorce lawyer today.

Special Considerations For the International Divorce Process

There are many reasons why a spouse who is seeking a divorce may choose to file for divorce in the United States over another country. It might be because one of the spouses live in the US, works in the US, or because the laws governing divorce are more favorable in the States than when obtaining a divorce in their respective foreign country.

When one or both of the spouses are residing in South Carolina, it is possible to obtain an international divorce in the United States. However, the first major hurdle in an international divorce is that at least one spouse must satisfy their state’s specific residency requirements in order to have the standing to file for divorce. In South Carolina, the residency requirements under S.C. Code Section 20-3-20 are:

  • When a spouse who is a resident of South Carolina is seeking a divorce, the resident spouse must be a resident of South Carolina for a period of one year—if the other spouse is not a resident of South Carolina.
  • When a spouse who is seeking a divorce is not a resident of South Carolina, but the other spouse is a resident of South Carolina, the other spouse must have been a resident for a period of one year.
  • When both spouses are residents of South Carolina, the residency requirement is only three months.

Service of Process in International Divorces

The next step in obtaining a divorce is to file a divorce petition, which requires service of process on the other spouse. When the other spouse is located abroad, service can be difficult in some cases. In the United States, service of process is usually performed personally, but this is not always possible to do if the other spouse is living in a foreign country. But even if personal service of process is not possible in your international divorce, there are other options for satisfying the requirements of the process of service.

The easiest, but often most expensive option, involves hiring a foreign process server to make the personal service of process. In some cases, hiring a foreign process server can be prohibitively expensive. However, other options exist. For instance, if you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are in mutual agreement that the divorce is needed, your spouse that is abroad can provide a waiver of their personal service.

When personal service isn’t possible because you don’t know exactly where your spouse is located, or when your spouse is unwilling to cooperate by providing you with a waiver of personal service, then the remaining option is to provide service through publication. You must request permission to proceed with service by a publication from the court, and you must also know in which city and country your soon-to-be ex-spouse is located in order to make a successful attempt at service by publication.

Get Help With Your International Divorce

Divorces can be overwhelming. If your spouse is living abroad, it can make your situation even more stressful. When you need help filing an international divorce, you can rely on the experienced professionals at Klok Law Firm LLC.

Contact us today for a free consultation.