Over 240,000 people were deported from the United States in 2016. Although couples may have intended to remain together, maintaining a long-distance relationship sometimes takes its toll, and the spouse remaining in the US decides to get a divorce. Although the process is generally the same if your ex-spouse lived in the United States, there are a few additional hurdles you'll need to overcome to separate from your spouse when he or she lives in another country. Here's what you need to know.
The top issue you'll face is whether or not your ex's home country cooperates with the United States and will enforce a divorce order you obtain in this country. Some countries—usually those who are at odds with America or don't have a treaty with the US—will refuse to enforce foreign judgments, and you'll have to seek out a divorce from your ex in his or her country of residence.
Other countries, though, will enforce your divorce decree as long as you take the necessary steps to notify your ex's host country about the court order. Mexico will enforce a US divorce decree as long as the person was properly served, enforcing the judgment doesn't go against Mexico's public policy, and you file a request with the Mexican court in your ex's jurisdiction, among other things.
It can be immensely challenging determining whether another country will honor a US judgment. Sometimes you can find the information you need online. However, it may be best to consult with an international attorney about this specific issue to ensure you get an accurate answer.
Serve Your Ex
The other challenge you will run into is serving your spouse the court notice. All states require you to notify the defendant in the case of an impending legal action, and most countries require this as well. Therefore, you need to find a way to serve your ex that will satisfy the requirement of the US and your ex's host country. For instance, you can have a professional server deliver the court papers to your ex, though you may have to use one in your ex's host country.
Unfortunately, things can get tough if your ex disappeared and you don't know where he or she is located. If this is the case, some states will let you serve notice in alternative ways. For instance, you may be able to post a notice in the local newspaper announcing the divorce or send a message to your ex through Facebook.
Be aware, though, that these alternative options may only be acceptable to courts in the US. The courts in your ex's host country may not allow them, which can give your ex a way to dispute the validity of the divorce.
When divorcing someone who has been deported, it's best to work with an attorney who can help guide you and ensures all the actions you take are legitimate. For more information about or assistance with this issue, contact a divorce lawyer like those found at Eschbacher Law.