Can my sister file for a divorce in the US even though she was married overseas? 22 Answers as of February 01, 2011

We are born in the Philippines, and my sister lives in the States right now. She wants to file a divorce here against her estranged husband who abandoned them when their kids were small. They don't have any communications with him, and many years ago she learned he was living with another woman. Is it possible to have an American lawyer process it and how much it cost?

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Stuart Jon Bierman  Attorney at Law
Stuart Jon Bierman Attorney at Law | Stuart Jon Bierman
Yes, she can file for divorce in the United States as long as she has been living here for a substantial period of time. Different states may have different time requirements. For example, the New Jersey courts require that a resident of New Jersey be living in this state for at least a year before they can file for divorce in NJ. The costs for a divorce vary widely. Lawyers in different states charge less or more than others depending upon a lot of factors, such as how complicated or easy it is to get a divorce in that state.

My wife is from the Philippines so I know a bit about how some people from that country are not aware of how the laws of the United States are very different in regard to allowing a person to obtain a divorce. If your sister would benefit from a divorce then she should not hesitate to talk with a lawyer. She might be surprised how straightforward it is to get a divorce in this country.
Answer Applies to: New Jersey
Replied: 2/1/2011
Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
Did she and her husband separate in the United States? If so she can file in the U.S. if she has lived in the State in which she lives for more than 6 months. It is not the country of marriage but the place of separation that governs.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 1/26/2011
Colucci and Associates
Colucci and Associates | Paul Colucci
Yes, your sister can file for divorce in the state where she has established her domicile provided that she has met the time requirements (usually six months) of continuous residency. There are some rather complicated issues that must be addressed after the case is filed, but with proper consultation these issues can be resolved with little difficulty, and given the husband's apparent lack of interest, with relatively little cost.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 1/25/2011
Law Office of Martin Blank
Law Office of Martin Blank | Martin E. Blank
If someone meets the residency requirements in this state and their county, they can file for divorce.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 1/25/2011
Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
Yes, your sister can file for divorce in the United States since she and the children now live in the United States. As to the cost, she can represent herself, or hire an Attorney. Almost all Family Law Attorneys work on an hourly basis. Call an experienced Family Law Attorney in your County.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/24/2011
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson | Michael E. Hendrickson
    Yes, your sister should be able to file for a no fault divorce in the state in which she currently resides and find a lawyer to handle it for her for a fee of between $1-2K.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 1/24/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    It does not matter where a person was married. If the marriage is recognized as legitimate in the U.S. the parties may divorce in a U.S. State that has jurisdiction.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 1/24/2011
    Hugo Florido ESQ.
    Hugo Florido ESQ. | Hugo Florido
    Yes, in Florida, as long as she has resided in the state for more than 6 months she can file her divorce in Florida even if married abroad. Call me and we can file the divorce.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 1/24/2011
    441 Legal Group, Inc.
    441 Legal Group, Inc. | Gareth H. Bullock
    Yes she can file her divorce her in the US even though she was married overseas. Sent from my IPhone Gareth H. Bullock On Jan 24, 2011, at 5:09 PM, "Question From LawQA" wrote: > A QUESTION HAS BEEN SENT TO YOU VIA A DIVORCE WEBSITE ON THE LAW QA NETWORK > > ID:9386 > Question: Can my sister file for a divorce in the US even though she was married overseas? > Question Detail: We are born in the Philippines, and my sister lives in the States right now. She wants to file a divorce here against her estranged husband who abandoned them when their kids were small. They don't have any communications with him, and many years ago she learned he was living with another woman. Is it possible to have an American lawyer process it and how much it cost? > > *********************************** > To answer this question, please just reply to this email. The original content and subject should not be modified, otherwise your answer will not be valid.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 1/24/2011
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    The attorney fees for a divorce lawyer in California vary, and are typically charged by the hour. Thus, the more difficult the case (i.e., the more time/work required) will cost more than a simpler case. Call some local family law lawyers to learn of their hourly rate. At that same time, that lawyer can discuss your case and give you some feedback as to how much or little work may be required.

    As to your question about getting divorced in the U.S., yes, a person typically files for divorce in the state and county of which they live, assuming they've lived there long enough to establish residency, which in California, is 6 months.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/24/2011
    Maclean Chung Law Firm
    Maclean Chung Law Firm | G. Thomas MacLean Jr.
    Yes, if she satisfies the residency requirements for California, she can file for divorce here. She will need to give notice to her spouse wherever he is at that she has filed for divorce here. The cost of such a divorce would depend on the specific facts and issues of her case, we offer a free initial consultation if she would like to contact our office.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/24/2011
    William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law
    William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law | William C. Gosnell
    Yes an American lawyer can file a divorce in the US.
    Answer Applies to: Tennessee
    Replied: 1/24/2011
    Law Office of Curry & Westgate
    Law Office of Curry & Westgate | Patrick Curry
    Yes she can file in the USA in the state that she resides. cost will vary from state to state.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/24/2011
    Steven D. Keist, Attorney at Law
    Steven D. Keist, Attorney at Law | Steven D. Keist
    Yes, she can file for divorce.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 1/24/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    So long as your sister is legally married, per the laws of the Country she was married in, she can obtain a divorce in the US, provided she meets residence requirements. In California, she must be a resident of the state for 6 months and a residence of the County in which she files for 3 months prior to filing for Dissolution of Marriage. It sounds like the primary problem may be getting him served with the documents.

    An attorney can be of great help in this process. I would be happy to offer a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/24/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    The simple answer is that the place of marriage does not affect where a divorce can be filed. The important fact is where the parties are living at the time of filing. Your sister can probably file in the state where she is now living, if he has lived there long enough to satisfy that state's law. In Colorado she must have been a legal resident for 90 days before filing; in some states that may be as long as one year before filing. If all she wants to accomplish is to end the marriage, not knowing where the husband is now doesn't create a problem. However, if she wants to force him to pay child support, she will need to find out where he is. She needs to talk to an attorney who can evaluate her situation and give her more specific advice.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 1/24/2011
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    It is possible, but not certain, that your sister can divorce her estranged husband here. Where the parties got married is not relevant to where they can get divorced. If your sister is living in the same state as her estranged husband, she can certainly divorce him in that state. If her husband is living elsewhere, if he cooperates with the divorce proceedings and accepts service of process through Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt and doesn't contest the divorce, she can divorce him here. However, if he has never been to the state where she files her divorce case, he could oppose jurisdiction in that state based on lack of constitutionally required minimum contacts with that state, but if he doesn't oppose jurisdiction, he waives that opposition. If he is currently in the Philippines, if he does not cooperate by signing and returning a Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt, your sister would need to have him served through a time-consuming, cumbersome and expensive process known as Letters Rogatory, since the Philippines is not a member of the Hague Service Convention.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/24/2011
    The Law Offices of Robert B. Pollack, P.C.
    The Law Offices of Robert B. Pollack, P.C. | Robert Pollack
    The general answer is that because someone marries outside the US, that does not prevent a divorce in the US. The question however is whether she has become a resident of a particular state and then whether that state has jurisdiction over the parties' marriage so they can divorce there. It is a question of a particular state's law.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/24/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    If she resides in Connecticut she will have had to have lived here for at least a year before the divorce can be finalized. Please contact us if you wish to discuss further; we have a free initial consultation. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 1/24/2011
    Goldberg Jones
    Goldberg Jones | Zephyr Hill
    Yes. She should file where she lives now. It does not matter where you get married.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/24/2011
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