Divorce is no easy process. However, if you are dealing with your spouse living or working overseas and you want to start the divorce process before their return, there are steps you must take to make sure you follow the United States laws as well as those of the country where your spouse resides. You want to make sure you follow all the legal procedures so the divorce will be legally acknowledged.
After you file for divorce, you need to know exactly where your spouse is so the paperwork can be served – this is where you have to see how things are handled overseas. Jurisdiction, or the extent of the legal power of a government (or other power), is important in this process because it will determine if your state can “reach” overseas and be able to rule over your divorce. Along with the divorce decree, an affidavit or waiver of service of process and a copy of the summons must be delivered. Signing the paperwork at a U.S. embassy or consulate with a notary will help make sure your spouse receives the paperwork.
Though your spouse has the option to waive service of process, they will most likely fight back. Find out if the country they are in is a member of the Hague Service Convention. This treaty deals with international service of process. If the country is part of the treaty, you can send the summons as a Letter Rogatory, or letter request. Other countries may have you serve through the central government authority or some other overseas agent.
If you want to proceed with an international divorce, contact a DuPage County family lawyer who understands how to work with a variety of jurisdictions and laws.