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What Happens When Dual Citizenship is Thrown into Divorce?

By Nottage and Ward on October 31, 2012

Divorce can be a very complicated and heated process in the United States, no matter what state you live in; but the issues you have to deal with in a divorce are exponentially worse when one or both spouses have dual citizenship and are living in another country. According to a Reuters.com article, custody issues have demonstrated the growing trend of problems associated with dual citizenship and divorce.

The President of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) states that they are “seeing more parental kidnappings, more conflict, more litigation and simply more to fight about.” He goes on to say that back in the late 1970’s and even the 1980’s, if a woman took her kids with her when she moved out of the country, no one would have contested because the mother would always be awarded custody. Times have changed, however, and parents who are challenging their ex’s right to take their kids out of the country are finding a lot of obstacles in their way. If your husband or wife takes your kids to another country, all you can do is try to open a line of communication to your ex. There’s only so much an American embassy can do to help in a foreign country.

Property division can also create an issue. If the divorce is filed in the U.S. and your spouse has a house in France that is considered marital property, then the U.S. court can still award it to you, but actually getting it can prove to be more difficult. Enforcing the court’s decision in another country is a whole other issue.

If you or your spouse have dual citizenship and are planning to divorce, you should not only speak to an experienced divorce attorney in the state where you live, but should also consider consulting with an international advisor. Being prepared for the various roads your divorce can take and knowing what you can do to obtain the best results possible can be a big advantage once you begin the process.

If you’re facing such a situation in Illinois, the Chicago divorce lawyers at Nottage and Ward can help you make an informed decision about the next step. Call us today for a consultation at (312) 332-2915.

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