International Divorce
Summary in Divorce

States respect the decisions of sister states. Care, however, should be taken when obtaining a divorce in a jurisdiction other than the one of legal residence.

An international divorce is one obtained in an alien jurisdiction by citizens of another country. Problems can happen when a person obtains a divorce in Haiti, the Dominican Republic or Mexico.

Very often termed a "quickie" divorce, petitioners often meet very short residency requirement. One popular place for a fast divorce is the Dominican Republic, where since 1971 foreigners have been able to obtain a fast divorce (in one day and without a residency requirement) by meeting four easy requirements (mutual consent, the appearance of one spouse, a power of attorney, and agreement and consent to jurisdiction).

Although the courts in some jurisdictions have upheld Dominican divorces, courts in other jurisdictions have not. Foreign divorce decrees must be authenticated by a United States embassy official, but even this does not mean that the divorce is recognized in the home state of the divorcing parties. In contemplation of a foreign divorce, it is prudent to seek a legal opinion about a divorce in a foreign place.

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#499: If you and your spouse plan to divide a retirement account pursuant to a divorce decree or judgment, you must have a qualified domestic relations order or and instrument of the like prepared for court and plan administrator approval.
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