Blogs from February, 2021

Most Recent Posts from February, 2021

Where Do I File For Divorce If I Got Married Abroad?


With the popularity of reality shows like 90 Day Fiancé, more and more Americans have friends and family who have international marriages. Foreign marriages also apply to your destination marriages. Regardless of why you happened to be married outside the country, your marriage is valid in two places.

According to Iowa code 595.20:

A marriage that is solemnized in any other state, territory, country, or any foreign jurisdiction which is valid in that state, territory, country, or other foreign jurisdiction, is valid in this state if the parties meet the requirements for validity pursuant to section 595.2, subsection 1, and if the marriage would not otherwise be declared void.

There are divorce cases each where more than one country has jurisdiction. One of the easiest ways to solve this problem is to hire an international divorce lawyer who can help you navigate your international divorce challenges. An attorney can help you choose the jurisdiction most likely to net you the best outcome. For many spouses in this situation, a divorce in America provides the best chance at a fair and equitable divorce settlement, but if you and your spouse disagree over jurisdiction, it’s imperative that you file for the divorce first. The spouse who files first determines which court oversees the case.

Challenges Unique to International Divorce?

International divorces can present unique challenges. Many spouses find they are unprepared for the difficulties they face having little experience with the laws outside the United States.

Many divorce issues like:

  • Property division
  • Relocation Petitions
  • Child custody
  • Motions to Enforce

Dividing property, creating custody arrangements, and enforcing court orders can be challenging in an international divorce – especially if your soon-to-be ex-spouse is living in a foreign country. Another challenge that you may face is the other jurisdiction's refusal to validate your divorce or acknowledge court orders.

The Importance of Jurisdiction

Every state and country have their own divorce laws, so when you choose divorce, if your situation is complicated by an international marriage or a spouse who resides in or is a citizen of another country, you may need to secure legal representation to protect your interests.

Courts outside of the US have vastly different rules about financial disclosures during a divorce. When you consider that most states require full transparency of assets and liabilities, establishing a favorable jurisdiction for your case is extremely important. The court hearing your case will determine many aspects of your final judgment, like alimony, time-sharing, and child support. The divorce laws pertaining to your case will be determined by where you and your spouse live when the divorce is filed and the court it’s filed with first.

International Divorce Representation Can Make a Difference

The best advice is not to assume you know the answers. You should find a specialist who can help you develop a strategy and discuss your case's details. At The Law Offices of Mark R. Hinshaw, PLC, we can help you explore the relevant laws relevant to your case to help you explore all of your options before filing for divorce. If you were married outside of the United States or your spouse lives outside the country, and you’re planning to file for a divorce, now is the time to consider hiring legal representation for your international divorce case.

Call us today at (515) 200-7571 or contact us online for information or schedule an appointment.