Need an International Divorce Lawyer in New Jersey?

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International Divorce Lawyer in New Jersey

Getting an international divorce is more complicated than getting a divorce from someone living in the U.S. Even when both parties agree on all the major issues, there are complexities of process service and enforcement that arise in an international divorce. Luckily, an international divorce can be filed in New Jersey as long as one spouse still lives in the state, even if the other is living abroad.

Only an experienced attorney can navigate the jurisdictional requirements and complications of international divorce in New Jersey. Having expert legal representation during and after an international divorce is the only way to ensure success.

If you are ready to file an international divorce in New Jersey, contact the experienced family law attorneys at Rosenblum Law today for a free consultation. Meanwhile, this guide will explain the differences and complexities of international divorce.

Understanding International Divorce in New Jersey

New Jersey does not have laws specific to international divorce, but there are some laws that may apply. 

  • Section 2A:34-8 of the New Jersey Revised Statutes provides that the New Jersey Superior Court shall hear matters of divorce as long as one party is a bonafide resident of the state. 
  • Section 2A:34-10 defines a “bonafide resident” as someone living in the state for one year prior to filing for the divorce. The residency requirement is waived if the grounds for divorce are adultery. 
  • Section 2A:34-9 requires that divorce papers be served on the defendant according to the rules by the Supreme Court of New Jersey. Rule 4 allows for personal service, which may not be possible in an international divorce, as well as service by mail or service by publication in the defendant’s local newspaper. 

Grounds for International Divorce in NJ

New Jersey allows for no-fault and fault-based divorces. A no-fault divorce is when the grounds for the divorce are based on “irreconcilable differences” between the spouses. The only requirement in NJ is that the marriage has failed after six months of reasonable effort on behalf of both parties, but requirements in other countries may vary. Additionally, most other countries also have separation requirements for divorce. These vary between three months to two years depending on the country, including whether it allows mutual or unilateral divorce. 
A fault-based divorce is when the grounds for divorce are based on something wrong that the other spouse did, such as extreme cruelty, adultery, or institutionalization. However,  many countries do not allow fault-based divorces. If the other country involved in an international divorce does not allow a fault-based divorce, one should not get a divorce on fault grounds in New Jersey, as it may not be valid in the other country.

Legal Procedures and Documentation

Filing an international divorce in New Jersey is very similar to filing for divorce when both parties live in the state. The initial paperwork is the same, with some exceptions. 

Matters of child custody and support are more complicated and need to meet the regulations of both New Jersey and the other country. For example, whereas irreconcilable differences are the grounds for a no-fault divorce and require no separation in NJ, the papers may need to specify that the parties have been separated for a specified period of time to meet regulations in the other country. 

Service of Process

It can be expensive to hire a foreign process server, but other options include service by mail and service by publication. A motion requesting alternative service for the international divorce will likely be needed as well. 

The only way around the need for service of process is for the spouse living in the other country to sign a waiver of service and appearance. When a divorce is uncontested, meaning both parties agree on all major issues in the final divorce settlement agreement, this waiver can save a lot of time and effort. This or proof of service must be submitted to the courts before the hearing will be scheduled.

Personal and Financial Disclosures

Personal and financial disclosures are required for an international divorce in New Jersey, but there may be different requirements in the other country. For any type of support or property division to be enforced, both countries must see the divorce decree as valid. 

Divorce Hearings

International divorce cases are heard after both parties have been notified of the action and the hearing. Sufficient time will be given for the party in the other country to get American representation. There is a virtual docket for those cases if the other party wants or needs to attend hearings by phone or videoconference.

Custody and Child Support Across Borders

According to the American Bar Association, the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (the Convention) states that the interests of the child are best served when the law of the child’s country of residence is applied. For this reason, if the child resides in another country, the New Jersey court must decide custody according to that country’s laws. 

Section 2A:4-30.187 outlines the procedural remedies available under the Convention, including: 

Other New Jersey laws in this chapter allow for child support to be enforced across borders, but there are no laws specifically about child custody

As a general rule, the court that issues a child custody and support order has the authority to enforce it. However, other countries may have their own rules about what child custody agreements entail. 

It is also important to note that while New Jersey will enforce a support order against a parent in another country, enforcement may be difficult. This is because the same remedies used to enforce child support orders in New Jersey may not be available in the other country. An attorney can advise best on how to enforce child support orders across borders.

Property Division in International Divorce

New Jersey distributes marital property in a divorce according to the principle of equitable distribution, which may not be a 50/50 split. However, other countries may have different requirements for property division that may need to be accounted for. 

According to the American Bar Association, property division in international divorce may occur based on New Jersey law or based on the law of the country in which the property was obtained. For example, the distribution of a home in France may be governed by French law.  

A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement may be used to divide property. However, some other countries will not enforce these agreements. In addition, New Jersey courts have been known to throw out postnuptial agreements when they are found not to be equitable. An experienced attorney can help their client understand the process of and laws for property division in an international divorce. 

Spousal Support and Alimony in International Divorce

As long as New Jersey has jurisdiction over a divorce, spousal support is an option. Whether or not spousal support can be enforced across borders depends on the laws in the other country. However, the support order itself will be established in a similar manner to that of any other divorce in New Jersey.

Calculating alimony, or the legal obligation for one spouse to make payments to the other, in an international divorce is complicated by exchange rates, banking fees, etc. It must be determined which party will cover these additional costs.

The Role of an Attorney in International Divorce

Due to the complexities and challenges explained throughout the article, an international divorce should not be undertaken alone. An experienced attorney is necessary to navigate the jurisdictional and procedural complexities of international divorce. An experienced attorney in international divorce can:

  • Navigate foreign laws and treaties during the divorce process 
  • Lead their client through mediation and negotiation with foreign entities when necessary to ensure a favorable outcome.
  • Protect their client’s assets and property across borders, and ensure that property rights are maintained and property division is equitable and fair.
  • Remove the other spouse from property deeds in other countries once the international divorce is final


Is a foreign divorce recognized in New Jersey?

For the most part, foreign divorce decrees are recognized in New Jersey. However, there may be exceptions when due process was not followed in obtaining the divorce.

How do I get a divorce if I was married overseas?

If you were married overseas, you may be able to get a New Jersey divorce if you meet jurisdictional requirements. If you do not meet the jurisdictional requirements, you might have to file for divorce in the country in which you have residency.

Can I divorce my spouse from another country?

If you have lived in New Jersey for at least one year prior to filing, you can file your divorce in New Jersey even though your spouse lives in another country.

How is child custody determined when parents live in different countries?

How visitation is determined depends on the particular circumstances and the rules of the country in which the other party lives. By international treaty, child custody is decided by the country in which the child primarily resides.

Where must publication be made for service of process?

If you are serving your spouse by publication, the notice must be published in a newspaper local to where your spouse was last known to be living. 

Why Choose Rosenblum for Your International Divorce

It is especially important to work with an experienced attorney for an international divorce in New Jersey. Rosenblum Law Firm has years of experience in New Jersey divorce and in international divorce law. We provide each client with a personalized strategy to help ensure a successful outcome. 

Each case is different, and the challenges can be significant, especially in international divorce. We use our personalized expertise to overcome those challenges. Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation.

International Divorce Lawyer in New Jersey
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