While all divorces bring a set of challenges, international divorces can be even more demanding. There might be income disparity in the marriage, leading to questions regarding alimony, spousal support and child support. The division of assets is made more complicated when some of the assets are located outside of the United States. Countries have their own laws regarding property, and at first glance, a jurisdiction might not be clear. When it comes to child custody and parenting, parents are often concerned about relocating children, international custody, and enforcing orders abroad. In high-conflict cases, child abduction is a serious concern. Because international divorces are so complex, you need a divorce law firm with experience in the nuances. Freed Marcroft is experienced with complicated assets and intricate estate planning; putting our Connecticut international divorce and custody lawyers in the position to help high net worth clients resolve complicated issues during divorce and custody proceedings.
When You Need International Divorce and Custody Attorneys
International divorce and child custody are complex. In some cases, both Connecticut and international laws play a role in property division and parenting agreements. You need an attorney experienced in international divorce when:
- You married in another country
- You own property internationally
- One or both spouses live outside the United States
- You are a Connecticut resident whose spouse filed for divorce in another country
- There are potential international custody issues
Property Division Considerations
Property division can be one of the most complicated aspects of an international divorce. First, you need to determine jurisdiction. A court must have subject matter jurisdiction and personal jurisdiction to hear your divorce case. Then, the court must value your property, including any international property located in different countries. When a property is held in another country, it’s generally valued based on that country’s taxes and laws.
Connecticut is an equitable distribution state. If you divorce in a Connecticut court, the property will be divided fairly but not necessarily evenly. Once the court divides the property, both parties must comply, or the order has to be enforced Post Judgment. Enforcing a U.S. court order overseas requires a skilled law firm with the necessary resources.
International Custody Considerations
When international spouses with children divorce in Connecticut, custody and parenting require more attention and experience than other divorce cases because of the added high-stakes intricacies. For example, if your children’s “home state” under the Uniform Child Custody and Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA) is outside of Connecticut, you may have a Connecticut divorce with child custody addressed elsewhere.
The most serious cases are when one parent leaves the United States with the child in defiance of your child custody orders. This may be child abduction, resulting in a high-conflict, international litigation. The Hague Convention on Private Law aimed to streamline the process of returning internationally abducted children, but can only be enforced in one of the 75 member countries. Freed Marcroft’s international child custody attorneys find mediation or collaborative divorce to be particularly effective in these cases, as they allow the flexibility to design international parenting plans; addressing and providing critical safeguards for international travel.
Benefits of Filing for an International Divorce First
There are numerous advantages to filing for an international divorce first. When there’s potential residency in another state or country, filing first gives you a greater chance of choosing the jurisdiction. This has both practical advantages and strategic advantages – for example, one state’s laws may be more favorable to your goals. You will also be in charge of timing the Automatic Orders, which impact custody and parenting. Plus, by controlling the date of filing, you will have the opportunity to gather documents before the divorce gets going. Finally, assembling your legal team first means you’ll retain the international divorce lawyer of your choice before your spouse has a chance to hire that attorney.