Validation of Foreign Divorces in NY

Given the advancements in family law, there is no longer a “one-size-fits-all” solution for divorce. In particular, foreign divorces have become increasingly common given that they can be cheaper and more quickly resolved.

Before you jump the gun and pursue a foreign divorce, however, it is important to determine whether they are recognized in New York. The last thing you want is to waste valuable time and money on a legal process that won’t be given proper credibility by state officials. Read on to find out how foreign divorces are handled in the Empire State.

Foreign Divorce Decrees & Their Legitimacy

If a married couple wants to get divorced and they were both born and married in a foreign country, that country may allow them to file for a divorce through the mail. This foreign divorce decree is also called a “mail order” divorce by U.S. state courts and immigration authorities.

In order for foreign divorce decrees to be recognized in New York, the spouses must follow certain requirements. Divorces obtained in foreign countries are recognized on the basis of comity – civility and courtesy – so it is imperative that each requirement is met.

New York will recognize a foreign divorce decree if:

  • Both spouses receive adequate notice
  • At least one spouse is physically present in the foreign country when the divorce is decreed
  • The spouse not seeking the divorce acknowledges the foreign court’s authority

The divorcing couple must also submit proof of their foreign divorce in New York. This can be done by procuring a certified copy of the foreign divorce decree, authenticating it for use in the U.S., and having it certifiably translated into English.

Once a New York court recognizes the foreign divorce decree, spouses are then permitted to seek financial relief and property distribution. Without a validated divorce decree, it is impossible for either spouse to pursue post-judgement financial relief.

The delicate nature of foreign divorces should be handled by a professional and our firm has over 20 years of family law experience. We can help ensure that your divorce meets state requirements, leading to a successful validation by the court. Don’t wait to secure legal advocacy – contact our New York City divorce attorney today.

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