Divorce, even a DIYvorce, is a legal proceeding, so it has some procedural requirements. These proceedings can be complicated and nuanced even in a straight-forward case in which the parties are largely in agreement. Parties who live near one another and can communicate easily generally have the process go smoothly. But given an increasingly mobile society, international divorce is becoming more common.
Minnesota law requires that at least one person has resided in Minnesota for 180 days before filing for divorce. So even if your spouse moved from Minnesota to a different country, you can still file for divorce in Minnesota, as long as you have lived here for at least 180 days. You are not required to file a divorce petition in the other country.
Like any divorce, the legal aspects begin when you file a petition for divorce. Given the nature of your basically amicable DIYvorce, you shouldn’t have too many problems exchanging legal documents as necessary with your spouse, but you might have to make different efforts to create a paper trail. Most countries have different requirements for valid international service of legal papers. These requirements can vary from having the papers professionally translated to having the papers served through an embassy or consulate. It is possible for your spouse to waive service and enter an agreement with you to avoid this step. If you’re working through an international divorce, definitely talk to your spouse about avoiding the extra time and expense associated with international service.
International child custody is also a very important issue when considering international divorce. If the children live in Minnesota, the divorce can also deal with the child custody issues. However, if the children have moved out of the country, it might be difficult or impossible to get an enforceable child custody order from a Minnesota divorce, depending on when the children moved, where they moved to, and whether you consented to the relocation. Again, given the nature of a DIYvorce, it hopefully has not and will not come to this, but it’s definitely a factor in international divorces. Some countries have treaties with the United States that provide for enforceability of custody orders in that foreign country, but many do not. Think carefully and talk to the available DIYvorce support team for insight before agreeing to such an arrangement.
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