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Divorce Abroad: The Difficulties of Divorcing in Two Different Countries

By Sheryl Rentz on October 24, 2012

Financial obstructions, red tape, and cultural differences are simply a few of the challenges one might encounter if they are divorcing a citizen of another country, an American who is a dual citizen, or someone who lives abroad. According to a Reuters news report, there are no statistics as to how many Americans have had to deal with divorce and dual citizenship, but the president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) states that it is a growing trend due to custody issues. He adds that they are “seeing more parental kidnappings, more conflict, more litigation, and simply more to fight about” in the event of a dual citizen or “international” divorce.

For U.S. citizens who may find themselves in a bi-country divorce situation, one must consider where they live in order to determine where to file for divorce. Simply because you or your spouse is American, one cannot assume that he or she can file for divorce in the U.S. A New York matrimonial lawyer explains that “It doesn’t matter where you were born, it’s where you live that’s going to determine which court has the jurisdiction.” As such, it may not ultimately be a decision as to which country is easier to divorce in, as divorce laws and outcomes certainly vary from country to country.

In general, however, divorce and dual citizen issues are easier to manage in the U.S. and Europe. In the Middle East and North Africa, divorce issues may be more challenging as laws significantly favor men’s rights over women’s rights. The issue of child custody can undeniably make a divorce proceeding more complicated “even under the best of circumstances,” according to the AAML president. In addition, the division of property for divorcing couples who hold dual citizenship may find themselves splitting up property around the globe.

In both instances, the court has the power to award property or custody to one spouse or another.

A divorce is complicated no matter where spouses live, and there may always be a number of issues that may make an already difficult situation more challenging. Pennsylvania family law lawyer Sheryl R. Rentz has the legal knowledge you need to navigate the waters of your divorce and can assist you in negotiating the finer details of your divorce settlement. For outstanding legal representation in your case, call (610) 645-0100 to schedule your free consultation.

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