California  |  International Law

Legal Question

Asked on: 4/10/13, 9:47 pm

My husband and I were married in the Rep.of Ireland. I am an American woman living in the U.S., my husband is a Republic of Ireland citizen living in Scotland where we lived together for 1 year(we have been separated for 3 years). We have no idea how to go about the divorce proceedings as we've received conflicting advice. Should we proceed by UK/Scottish laws or California?

1 Answer


Answered on: 4/11/13, 10:55 am by Andrew Harrell

It's actually pretty straight forward. If you have lived in California for I believe 6 months and established residency then the state level courts have acquired sufficient in personem jurisdiction for you to petition for dissolution. If you husband is out of the country, then you will have to have a lawyer (or yourself) properly serve him with the complaint/summons. If you two can develop a separation agreement, resolving property ownership, debts, as well as custody and visitation for children, then you will be granted the dissolution. U.S. courts don't have to recognized foreign divorces though full faith and credit needs to be given to judgments in the various states. If you plan to stay in the U.S., your California divorce will be recognized everywhere in the U.S. Probably the same in the UK? On the other hand, there is no guarantee that the UK divorce would necessarily be accepted in Calfornia; indeed, I have had Canadian divorces relitigated in California--with the same result.


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W. Andrew Harrell, Attorney at Law 250 Pacific Ave., Suite 407 Long Beach, CA 90802

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