How to Divorce an Out-of-Country Spouse

If you are living in Massachusetts and you are married to someone who lives outside of this country, can you get a divorce?  The short answer is yes.

The requirement for getting a divorce in Massachusetts is that one of the parties to a divorce must have resided in the commonwealth for the past year.

You go about the divorce process just as you would if your spouse lived in state.  You have to decide if you want an uncontested divorce or a contested divorce.   After you have your attorney draft up all the documents, you have them signed by your spouse and have them mailed back to you if it’s an uncontested divorce.  Or you have them served with divorce papers if it’s a contested divorce.

You have the option of waiving your spouse’s attendance at the final hearing if they can’t or won’t come to Massachusetts for the hearing.

The question most often asked about international divorces is whether or not you have to register your divorce in the other country or similarly, whether or not you have to divorce in the other country too?  If you don’t plan on going back to that other country to remarry, there is usually nothing else you need to do to register your divorce there.  If you do plan to remarry in that country, you will most likely have to register your US divorce in that country so they know you have divorced and can legally remarry.

The process can get a lot more involved if your spouse decides to put up a fight but the bottom line is this:  if you want a divorce, it’s going to happen – it might just take a little time.

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