Divorcing someone can be a complicated and difficult process no matter what circumstances you’re under. There are many emotions that come with the end of a marriage, not to mention the complex legal hurdles you need to consider. Official divorce filing involves a great deal of negotiation over many details. And on top of all of this, if you’re a citizen in multiple countries, the process might become even more convoluted.
If you are a dual citizen, there may be more steps than usual to your divorce case. It’s also possible that having an official divorce will take a little extra time. To make sure the process is as smooth as it can be, it’s important to understand the options available when you file divorce papers as a dual citizen.
The Difference in Divorce for Dual Citizens
There are many ways in which divorce for a dual citizen is similar to divorce for sole citizens of the US. When you and your spouse both reside in the US, you can file your divorce papers with the county court in your state. This is the same process used for all couples who reside in the US.
If you have dual citizenship, though, you might have extra options for how to file your divorce. This is especially true if you live outside the United States. Laws will vary widely depending on where you have the dual citizenship. If you want to take advantage of potential benefits, it’s important to understand the options available, along with their benefits.
Dual citizens have the ability to move easily between their countries of citizenship. This makes it possible to receive benefits from the laws of both countries.
Steps for Filing Divorce Papers When You’re a Dual Citizen
Before any paperwork is filed in either country, you need to understand the divorce laws in both countries of which you’re a citizen. One of the things you can do is get in contact with a divorce lawyer from both areas. Local divorce lawyers are well versed in the specific laws and procedures of their jurisdictions.
Once you’ve formed a full understanding about how divorce filing works in each country, your next choice is which place is most sensible for you to file the papers. For the most part, this means you choose whichever country will make the divorce process easiest.
With all of that said, being a dual citizen doesn’t automatically mean you’ll receive benefits from both countries. If you don’t reside in one of the countries, you won’t be able to file divorce proceedings in that country.
How to File for Divorce with Dual Citizenship
Many people decide to file for divorce in their primary country of residence. When this is the case, it’s easy to fill out your paperwork and file it with the appropriate local authority. In the United States, this generally means filing with your county clerk’s office. After the paperwork is filed, you’ll have officially begun the divorce process. No further steps will be required involving your other country of citizenship.
However, you might decide that your primary country of residence isn’t the one to file in. If you want to file in the other country, you can expect the process to become somewhat more complicated.
To file for divorce in the other country in which you’re a citizen, you need to establish residency. If you already live in the area for at least part of the year, you’ll want to go there to streamline the paperwork process. If you don’t currently live there, you have to move there. Before residency can be established, you must have lived in the country for a certain period of time. The time period will vary depending on the place.
It may take some time to establish residency. In the meantime, you can file to legally separate from your spouse.
After residency has been established, you can begin divorce proceedings in the country. Even if your spouse doesn’t live in the country with you, you can still file the papers. With that said, the divorce process may be complex if you and your spouse reside in different countries.
If your other country’s divorce laws are easier than your current country’s, it may still be worth moving there. The decision will depend heavily on your unique circumstances. Divorce proceedings are simplest when both spouses live in the same country, but if you’ll get benefits from filing in a different country, you should give that serious consideration.
When filing divorce, with a dual citizenship – things can be increasingly difficult, and complex. Not only can it be complex for you, but it can also be complex for your spouse. If you’re the one filing papers for divorce, you need to consult a divorce attorney in both countries – in order to find out what the laws are in each location. Different countries have different laws when it comes to divorce. Typically, what you will want to do is pick the location that’s most favorable for filing divorce papers. In order to actually be able to file for divorce in the location you pick, you have to make sure you meet the residency requirements for divorce in the respective country. If you don’t fulfill the residency requirements, you aren’t considered a resident of that country – and thus, cannot take advantage of it’s laws when it comes to filing for divorce.
Typically, we recommend you speak to the attorneys in both countries. Your goal, is to get a divorce streamlined as quickly as possible – which leaves you in the possible position. If you want to understand if NYC/NY is more favorable for you, then we encourage you to speak to one of our attorneys today. We can help you compare the pro’s and con’s of filing for divorce here, in NYC, vs other countries.