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Family Law Issues As An Expatriate

Living as as an expatriate, you might encounter unique problems that are exacerbated by your residency status. Legal proceedings are no exception, and obtaining a divorce or child custody while living outside of your home country adds an additional layer of complexity to an already difficult process. Even identifying the appropriate place to begin legal proceedings in these situations can be a daunting task: the country in which you decide to file for a divorce can impact everything from the validity of prenuptial agreements to your ability to receive spousal support and determinations related to child custody. However, the United States generally recognizes the validity of divorces obtained in other countries as long as the parties were given fair notice of the proceedings and were able to present their case.

Some couples may choose to sign a separation agreement in lieu of obtaining a divorce. When drafting a separation agreement in these situations, it is important to consider adding a choice-of-law clause and a forum selection clause in order to safeguard the interpretation of the agreement.

What options are available will depend on your specific circumstances. In determining what legal route to take concerning divorce, separation or child custody, you may face questions such as:

  • Should I continue to live in a foreign country or move back to my home country before obtaining a divorce?
  • Can I move countries with my children without my spouse’s consent?
  • What information should I gather before telling my spouse I want a divorce?
  • How will my international property and business interests be divided?
  • Should I obtain a divorce or a legal separation?

Contact the Law Office of Zachary D. Smith for help navigating your options and obtaining a divorce, legal separation, or child custody while living as an expatriate.


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