In almost every situation, you can file for divorce in Minnesota even if you were married in a foreign country. The most important considerations are:
- Whether the marriage is valid in the country in which it was performed
- Ensuring that your out-of-state spouse receives proper notice that the divorce is being filed
If Your Spouse Lives in the U.S.
If you and your spouse live in Minnesota, you can file for divorce in Minnesota. If your spouse lives in another state in the U.S., we can advise you on the process of filing for divorce in Minnesota so that the Minnesota court has authority over an out-of-state spouse. In most situations, the laws of the other state will determine if a resident of another state must submit to the court in Minnesota in family law matters.
If Your Spouse Lives in Another Country
Minnesota law allows you to file for divorce in Minnesota, even if your spouse has left the country. While not all foreign countries will recognize a divorce in the United States, most U.S. states will permit a citizen or resident to file for a divorce in such a situation.
If your intent is to remain in the U.S., your U.S. divorce is valid for legal purposes in Minnesota and in every other state. You will be able to legally remarry and conduct other legal transactions in the U.S. that require proof of a legal divorce.
When Children Are Involved
If you have children and they are in the U.S., then your spouse must abide by the terms of the custody and visitation order entered by the court in your divorce. Your spouse will not be able to obtain a passport for the children without your permission or travel out of the state or country without your permission. If the judge orders that child support is due, it’s possible that a spouse can receive or make payments while abroad.
In general, the court will always consider what is in the best interest of the children before making any decisions about where they will live, with which parent, and what the visitation and care schedules are. Each case involving children is unique. The judge will consider cultural, religious and other factors that affect the children, including where they will be the safest.
You Don’t Need to Have a “Registered” Marriage in Minnesota
Clients often worry that they should have done something to record their foreign marriage in Minnesota. There is no need to be concerned about this because Minnesota will recognize your foreign marriage if it is a legal marriage in a foreign country.
There is not a separate registration for foreign marriages. International treaties provide the legal authority under which states recognize the validity of foreign marriages.
We’ll Help You Through a Minnesota Divorce Even if You Were Married Abroad
Marriage, divorce, custody and dividing up assets and debts are complex and stressful. If you were married abroad or your spouse has relocated back to a foreign country, we can help you.
We are experienced in helping Minnesota residents through divorces with foreign nationals living here or abroad. Because your situation is unique, you need a lawyer who understands the nuances involved. In many cases, the entire family can be involved.
Contact us for a consultation to discuss a strategic plan for your unique situation. We are here to help!