What can be more complicated than divorce? International divorce.
International divorce can be a tricky subject, and questions as simple as jurisdiction can fundamentally change the outcome of the divorce proceedings, the structure of child custody, and division of marital property. The laws of the United States may not apply perfectly to your divorce if one or more of the following is true:
- You, your spouse, or both currently live outside of the United States
- You and your spouse share marital property located outside of the United States
- You and your spouse were married in another country
Identifying the possible jurisdictions for your divorce should be the first order of business, and Bikel & Schanfield are here to help. Consulting with our attorneys can help clarify your rights in the various potential jurisdictions for your divorce. Knowing how you will be affected can help you make the important decision of where to file. Or, if your spouse has already filed for divorce in another jurisdiction, learning what you need to do next is paramount.
We can help determine which law or laws will apply to your divorce proceedings. We tell you what effects the fact that your divorce will be heard in another jurisdiction will have on the potential outcomes the proceedings.
International divorce can affect children the most.
When spouses identify that different jurisdictions may render different decisions on custody of children, they may take advantage of an international divorce situation. Preventing your spouse from abducting your child by spiriting him or her away to another jurisdiction can be made less complicated with the advice of strong counsel. Even obtaining (or blocking) permission to allow a child to relocate temporarily to another jurisdiction can play a pivotal role in potential custody proceedings.
Does international law govern international divorce?
Yes and no. Uniform laws do not apply across all countries and jurisdictions, but more than seventy countries entered into the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCPIL). Conventions from the HCPIL have been ratified in whole or in part by a great many of those countries, and that has helped create some clarity in areas that can arise in an international divorce, including:
- Child abduction, seeking to protect children from negative effects of being abducted across international boundaries and creating procedures to bring about their quick return.
- Child support, seeking to establish an effective and efficient international system for cross-border recovery of child support as well as other family maintenance costs.
- Protection of adults, seeking to assist adults who may be unable to protect their own interests by way of impairments or other difficulties.
- Protection of children, seeking to help avoid conflicts between international legal systems to improve international protection of children in multi-country situations.
Despite these efforts, laws can vary wildly depending on your particular situation, especially if you find your divorce in a jurisdiction that has not ratified all or part of the conventions of the HCPIL. Despite the fact that no one law or set of laws governs all jurisdictions, seasoned legal counsel can find and clarify the laws that may affect your particular situation.
Tap into Bikel & Schanfield’s decades of collective legal experience, and benefit from our significant experience helping clients deal with assets located in multiple jurisdictions, custody questions involving children who are residing or have resided in multiple countries, and know how when it comes to dealing with spouses of multiple residencies.
How can a family law attorney help you with cross-border issues?
The attorneys at Bikel & Schanfield can navigate the laws of multiple countries to help understand, among other things: (1) how to obtain permission to relocate children to another country, or how to prevent relocation from occurring; (2) how to navigate prenuptial agreements that allocate property located in multiple jurisdictions; (3) how to value and effectuate the distribution of assets located in foreign jurisdictions; (4) how to prevent international child abduction and help secure the return of an abducted child; and (5) how to properly serve your spouse with divorce papers from across borders.
In some jurisdictions, the grounds for divorce can control the proceedings, while some countries require proof of fault submitted against one spouse or the other, while others may have clear “no fault” laws. Depending on the laws of the particular country or jurisdiction, and the standard of proof associated with necessary showings arising under that jurisdiction’s law, the evidentiary basis necessary to meet these requirements can vary, and that can leave an unsuspecting spouse in a desperate position. Do not find yourself lost and without counsel trying to navigate the complexity of another jurisdiction.
We can assist in doing what your spouse’s counsel is likely already working toward: figuring out the way to navigate the laws and strictures of your particular jurisdiction in a way that is advantageous to you. We can provide peace of mind in a complex international divorce.
Bikel & Schanfield can help.
Family law can be complicated, and divorce and custody issues are intricate in the best of times, but having to negotiate between and across multiple jurisdictions can exponentially increase the subtle legal difficulties associated with an otherwise commonplace situation. We serve our clients by searching out the answers to complicated questions like the ones posed above, and we help clients obtains the best results possible in the situation they are in. Finding experienced counsel in these areas can be daunting, so look no further than Bikel & Schanfield.