Can I get a divorce when one spouse lives out of the country? I am asked this question frequently, and the answer is – Yes, you can! Whether you live out of the country or your spouse lives out of country, we can get your uncontested divorce finalized without much more work than if the spouse lived in the country.* I am going to focus on uncontested divorces for this blog article. However, contested divorces may also be accomplished when one party lives out of the country.
WHEN YOUR SPOUSE LIVES OUT OF THE COUNTRY
There are two options for proceeding with an uncontested divorce in Louisiana when your spouse lives out of the state. The path to take depends on whether your spouse has access to a notary (or similar agency) where he or she lives.
Most countries have notaries or their equivalents and if your spouse if not sure where to find a notary, he or she can always go to a nearby US Embassy to have their document notarized. If your spouse has access to a notary, once the petition for divorce is filed with the court, the spouse will sign what is called a Waiver of Service in the presence of a notary and return to your attorney for filing with the court. You can get more information here about the uncontested divorce process. Once your spouse signs and returns the notarized waiver of service, you will not need anything else from your spouse. A couple more pleadings will be filed with the court and you will be divorced.
Sometimes a spouse will not have access to a notary – usually because they live in a very remote area of another country. You can still obtain an uncontested divorce when your spouse does not have access to a notary. You will have to obtain service on your spouse through signature delivery of the citation and certified petition for divorce. I have found that the cheapest and fastest courier for this service is DHL. Once your spouse signs for the delivery, your attorney will filed an “Affidavit of Service.” The affidavit of service tells the court that service was accomplished. You will then have to wait thirty days from filing to proceed with your divorce. A couple of pleadings later and you will be divorced.
WHEN YOU LIVE OUT OF THE COUNTRY
Filing your uncontested divorce when you live out of the country is not much different than when you live in the country. Obviously, you cannot go down to your attorney’s office to sign your paperwork, but you will be able to complete all steps remotely. Rotharmel Shanks, LLC has an electronic intake process and is able to manage your entire case remotely. The only issue will be in signing your paperwork that requires notarization. As discussed above, there are some areas of the world where you may not have easy access to a notary. Signing your paperwork in the presence of a notary is a requirement to finalizing your divorce, so you will need to ensure you can locate a notary even if that means you have to travel a little to do so.
Regardless of whether you or your spouse live out of the country, you can obtain an uncontested divorce in Louisiana. Contact a Louisiana Divorce attorney to get started on or with any questions regarding your divorce.
*You can file your petition for divorce in (1) the parish you live in; (2) the parish your spouse lives in; or (3) the parish you last lived together.