Everyone knows that divorce can be difficult. It’s rarely a seamless process filled with casualness, simplicity, and cooperation. Of course, if your soon-to-be ex-spouse is living overseas, then life at home could possibly lack the dramatic and emotional scenes that most households have during a separation. Unfortunately, serving divorce papers overseas can be much more difficult than simply putting documents into an envelope and placing them in a mailbox. In order to serve divorce papers overseas, you must follow a specific step-by-step process to ensure that you’re doing it legally and effectively. You must keep in mind that each step will be determined by the location of your spouse and the jurisdiction of where he or she is located. If you want to know more about how to serve divorce papers overseas, here is a brief guide to help get you started.
Step One: File the Petition and Summons
First, you’ll start with your own location. However, you have to take into consideration where most of your marital property is located. If you have multiple properties and choose to live in different areas throughout the year, always go with the location that holds the majority of the properties that you own together. This will be where the state court holds jurisdiction over your properties. This is where you will file the divorce petition and summons. You’ll also need to determine if you’ll be seeking property in another country. If so, it’s important to know that country’s service laws. Having an experienced divorce lawyer is highly recommended at this stage if this is the path you’ll be taking.
Step Two: Find Where Your Spouse Is Located
This legal procedure is referred to as “service of process”. Because you’ll need to follow the law of the overseas jurisdiction, you need to know the legal way to serve divorce papers overseas. It’s very important to have a specific address of where he or she is located. It would be frustrating and costly to go through the procedure of service of process if you have the wrong address or you’re unaware of their specific location. It’s vital to know exactly where your spouse is.
Step Three: Long Arm Statute
It’s also important for your divorce lawyer to know and understand the extent of your state’s “long arm” statute. Basically, this is a statute that permits a local court jurisdiction over foreign defendants. This will determine if you state can or cannot serve your spouse or rule on your case.
Step Four: Determine Your Method of Service
You must consider a number of different factors at this step if you wish to effectively serve divorce papers overseas. It’s important to know if you believe your spouse will attempt to avoid the service of process or if he or she is willing to sign and follow appropriate protocols. For instance, if you believe your spouse will evade the service of process, you may need to know the service of process laws of the jurisdiction of the particular country where your spouse is located. If this country is a member of the Hague Service Convention, then you’ll have to follow certain procedures that match their international service of process laws. You’ll also have to determine if the divorce papers need to be translated into the native language of the country.
Your divorce lawyer will help you to decide if the documents should be mailed through service by publication, personal service, waiver of service, service by rogatory, service by certified mail, or service through a central authority. Of course, getting your spouse to waive service and sign documents at an American embassy is the simplest way to handle service of process overseas.
Step Five: Follow-Up
As mentioned above, the details and tasks in each of these steps will change according to the country that your soon-to-be ex-spouse is located. Many of these procedures can become easier or more complicated depending on the nature of your case and the country you’re dealing with. It’s imperative to follow-up in the country where your spouse is located to assure that you’re following proper protocol and the documents are prepared correctly.
For More Information on How to Serve Divorce Papers Overseas
If you’d like more information on how to serve divorce papers overseas, contact an experienced divorce lawyer in Boca Raton to help guide you through the process. As mentioned above, these steps can be incredibly complex and require extensive research into local jurisdiction as well as knowledge in the process of service laws in another country. It’s never recommended to go through this process alone. Divorce can be stressful, exhausting, and emotionally taxing. It can become even more difficult to attempt to serve divorce papers overseas without any legal experience. Call a trusted divorce lawyer today to ensure your moving in the right direction.