“Provincial” Connecticut Meets French Provinces: International Divorce Strategy

  •   |   Meghan Freed

Connecticut gets (gives itself?) a bad rap for being provincial. Our clients indicate it is anything but.

In just the last couple of weeks, Freed Marcroft has arranged for service of process on spouses in two different European countries, the British Isles, and Canada. This fits in with the trend we have seen at Freed Marcroft over the last several years.

Connecticut, Friends, has become very, very international.

Common International Divorce Situations

Here are the three international divorce situations we see most frequently:

  • Both spouses are foreign nationals living in the United States
  • Both spouses are United States nationals, but one or both are living abroad
  • One spouse is a foreign national and one is a U.S. national living in the states or abroad

Recent New York Times Coverage of International Divorce

Connecticut is part of a bigger story. This week alone, there were not one but two stories in the New York Times on international divorce. One (it’s long but worth the read) is the sordid tale of a Finnish entrepreneur’s attempts to hide millions when he set out to divorce his American wife. The other discusses India’s divorce laws and how they are designed to discourage divorce by “offer[ing] a notably narrow selection of divorce-worthy faults, among them cruelty, incurable leprosy and renunciation of the world by entering religious orders.”

When we write about international divorce, we often focus on how critical it is to have counsel familiar with international custody issues — specifically with respect to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. This is because a misstep in an international divorce involving children can have such grave consequences.

In addition to issues involving children, however, this week’s Times articles underscore that international issues also add particular nuance to the financial and jurisdictional aspects of a divorce.

Example 1: Assets Held Abroad

In Connecticut, recent caselaw dictates that neither spouse disposes of property in contemplation of divorce. Enforcement is one thing if the assets are in Connecticut — but when there is a chance that assets held in another country will be disposed of there is an added layer of significant complexity.

Example 2: Country In Which To File

Here’s another one. The decision on whether to file in Connecticut or the foreign country is critical. As we saw above with India, the impact of your choice of jurisdiction might dictate whether the divorce will even be granted. Even if the ramifications aren’t as drastic as they are with India, they can still be significant.

Let’s say, hypothetically, that one spouse lives in France and one spouse lives in Connecticut and there is jurisdiction in both Connecticut and the appropriate territorial jurisdiction in France.  From an American point of view, alimony in France is often quite modest. In addition, as a practical matter, there is also more negative financial impact on adulterous spouses.

For all of the above reasons along with many others, it is clear that when dealing with an international divorce, a proactive, thoughtful strategy is essential.


Freed Marcroft’s attorneys guide select clients through the legal aspects of divorce and family law issues while remaining mindful of their overall wellness.

To discuss our helping with your situation, contact us today here.

Freed Marcroft LLC

Freed Marcroft LLC