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Will other countries recognize my divorce and will the U.S. recognize a foreign divorce?

If you marry someone who is not a resident of the U.S. or who has dual citizenship, you may end up with concerns over your divorce and its recognition by the government of either the U.S. or a foreign country. It often depends on the details of your situation and where you obtained your divorce.

According to the U.S. Department of State, reciprocity plays a large role in whether a government will recognize a divorce that did not take place in its country.

Foreign divorce

If you get a divorce in a foreign country, the U.S. will usually recognize it. There is a requirement that in the divorce, you and your spouse both had the opportunity to state your side of the issues and you both had notice of the divorce proceedings. If either of these did not take place, then there might be an issue. Because marriage and divorce in the U.S. are state issues, you can always bring concerns to your state’s Attorney General who can answer your questions and help ensure your divorce is recognizable in the country.

U.S. divorce

If you get your divorce in the U.S. and you or your spouse will then return to a different country to live, you will also want to be sure that country will recognize your divorce. It can complicate things if the country does not and considers you to still be in a marriage.

It is a little more complicated to have a divorce from the U.S. recognized in another country due to the differing in laws. In general, if the other country has a secular legal system, then your divorce is valid there as well. The best way to verify this is to find a legal professional to consult with in that country.