If you are an American civilian living abroad you can get divorced. Divorce decrees issued in foreign countries are generally recognized by the United States, so long as:
- Both parties to the divorce are given sufficient notice of the proceedings, and
- One party is domiciled in the foreign nation at the time of the divorce. Your domicile is the state or nation in which you presently live without any immediate intention to leave.
Can I File for Divorce from Active Military Personnel Stationed Abroad?
You can still file for divorce if your spouse is abroad serving active military duties. Because of the complexities involved with military law and serving a person with process overseas, you should see a family lawyer who can fully explain your options.
What Should I Do If I've Been Served with Divorce Papers While on Active Duty Abroad?
If you are on active military duty abroad and have been served with divorce papers, you can either respond or you may be able to have the proceedings delayed for the rest of your active duty plus 60 days through the Soldiers and Sailors Relief Act. This does not mean that you can ignore the papers while you're on active duty. The court has full discretion to allow or deny you the option to delay. See a family law attorney to review your immediate options.
Can I Get Divorced if I'm Stationed in a State Where I Do Not Legally Reside?
If you are stationed in a state other than where you legally reside, you can still get divorced. Additionally, if your spouse initiates the divorce, you may be able to delay the proceedings through the Soldiers and Sailors Relief Act. See an attorney to be clear on your options.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
Laws regarding foreign civilian divorce are unclear and complicated. Meeting with an experienced family law attorney will help you understand your options. A family law lawyer can also represent you in court.