Getting divorced is a challenging event. In addition to the emotional complexities of separating from one’s spouse, there are also the logistical considerations. One thing that can make a divorce even more complicated than it already is is trying to file a divorce when your spouse is out of the country. If your spouse is out of the country, you can still get a divorce, but doing so could take longer or prove to be a bit more challenging. Here’s what you should know about divorcing an out-of-country spouse in Massachusetts—
Do You Meet the Residency Requirements to File for Divorce?
The first thing to consider when you are divorcing an out-of-country spouse in Massachusetts is whether or not you meet the residency requirements to file for a divorce. You may not meet the residency requirements if you have been living out of the country (or state) as well as your spouse. In order to file for a divorce in Massachusetts, you must have had “an actual, continuous residence in the Commonwealth for 12 months immediately prior to filing for divorce.”
Is Your Divorce Contested or Uncontested?
If you meet the residency requirements for filing for divorce, then you can file, even if your spouse is currently out of the country. The next thing to consider is whether or not your divorce is contested or uncontested. If your divorce is uncontested, then you and your spouse are in agreement about the terms of the divorce. If your divorce is contested, then you and your spouse are not in agreement about the terms of the divorce. This can make divorcing an overseas spouse more complicated, as they will need to return to the state in order to attend a divorce hearing if the divorce cannot be settled out of court.
Serving Your Divorce Papers
Whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, you’ll still need to serve your spouse with divorce papers—even if they’re living abroad. You may be able to do this by hiring a foreign process server. If this proves to be unsuccessful, the court may allow divorce by publication. If your spouse signs a waiver of service, then you can send the documents by mail.
Military Divorce Rules
Keep in mind that if your spouse is overseas because they are in the military, then there are certain military-specific rules and procedures you must follow in order to have your divorce granted.
Get Help from a Skilled Attorney
Divorce is tough enough as it is. If your spouse is living overseas and you are trying to file for divorce, you may have questions about your rights and options. At the Law Office of Heather M. Ward, our experienced family law attorney is here to provide you with the support and legal guidance that you need. Remember, getting a divorce is possible, even if your spouse isn’t currently within the state. To learn more, call Attorney Heather M. Ward directly today at (617) 903-8955 or send our office a message online today.