Should I Get an International Divorce?


If you're eager to be done with your marriage and move on with your life, the idea of a quickie international divorce might seem like an appealing alternative to filing for divorce in Pasadena.

In order to obtain a divorce in California, one party in the marriage has to have resided in the state for at least six months and the county in which the proceeding is filed for at least three months. Once the initial paperwork is filed, it still takes a minimum of six months for the divorce to be complete. You are not legally free to remarry until your divorce is finalized.

If you and your spouse had a trial separation, you might already be living apart and wondering if you can file for divorce in another jurisdiction to speed up the process. For the most part, states respect the decisions made by other states. However, problems can sometimes arise when a couple tries to get a divorce in a jurisdiction other than the one in which they legally reside.

International divorces may be problematic. For instance, international divorces obtained in the Dominican Republic are most likely to cause problems. Since 1971, foreigners have been able to get a one-day divorce there with no residency requirement. All they need to do is meet the following criteria:

  • Mutual consent
  • The appearance of one spouse
  • A power of attorney
  • Consent to jurisdiction

Once the divorce in finalized, a foreign divorce decree needs to be authenticated by a United States embassy official. Even if this is done, you may still run into problems when you try to remarry or change your name.

How Can We Help?

If you are contemplating an international divorce, please contact our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at Our experienced Pasadena divorce lawyers can help explain the pros and cons of this decision.