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People come to California from all over the world. Some may move here with their spouses to start a new life together, some may come home with a spouse after time abroad, and others may move here for new opportunities and a chance to get away from a bad relationship back home. There are many circumstances where you might have been married in another country and now seek a divorce in California. Depending on where you were married, where your spouse lives, and why you want the divorce, your California divorce may work differently. For help with your divorce case, contact the Ventura divorce attorneys at the Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth today.

Getting Divorced After a Wedding Abroad

If you and your spouse are both California residents who got married abroad, your divorce works much like any other divorce in California. As long as you have a valid divorce in California and either you or your spouse is a resident of California and the county where you will be divorced, you can apply for a no-fault divorce. This requires filing with the court and following the standard wait times and procedures for a California divorce.

If you were married in a country whose marriages are not recognized in California, things may be more complicated. The primary reason that a state in the U.S. might not recognize a marriage abroad is if the marriage was performed abroad to circumvent same-sex marriage laws and the parties now seek a same-sex divorce. Since same-sex marriages are legal in California and throughout the U.S., even older marriages initially performed abroad to avoid same-sex marriage bans should be valid in California and eligible for divorce. If you have any doubts about the initial validity of your marriage abroad, speak with an attorney about your case. Otherwise, you should be able to file for divorce normally – which our divorce attorneys can help you with.

California Divorces for People Married in Another Country

If you lived in another country and were married during your time there, you likely fall under the same rules as someone who was married abroad. This means that if your marriage is recognized as valid by California law, you should be able to seek a divorce as you normally would.

However, this assumes that you and your spouse both live in California. If you are both residents of California and residents of the county where you want to file for divorce, you should be able to file normally.

Divorcing after moving to the United States can be more complex if the marriage was part of an immigration or Green Card application. If one spouse is an American citizen, and they were married abroad with the plan of moving to California, getting divorced may be more difficult. Divorces that take place after immigrating to the U.S. are often suspicious, and immigration authorities may look into these cases, potentially accusing you of fraud. Talk to an attorney for guidance on how you should handle a divorce after moving to the U.S. from another country.

If you are divorcing someone who immigrated to the United States with you, the divorce may be simpler. Immigrants and foreign residents may still be able to get a divorce in California as simply as any other resident of California. You or your spouse must be a resident of California and a resident of the county in which you want to file for divorce to meet CA’s residency requirements. If you meet these requirements, you should be able to file for divorce normally.

Divorcing Someone who Lives in Another Country

If you moved to the U.S. to get away from a bad relationship or your spouse left you in the U.S. to move abroad, divorce can be complicated. Long-distance relationships are difficult, and divorces are commonly filed against people who live in another country – so there are concrete legal processes for handling these kinds of cases.

California has residency requirements for any divorce, but these rules only require that one spouse is a CA resident. To get a divorce, either you or your spouse must have lived in California for 6 months before the divorce and must have lived in the country where you will file for divorce for 3 months before the divorce. There is no requirement that you both live there, which allows California law to reach out and apply to residents of other states and even other countries. If you have not lived here long enough, you can either wait until you do meet the residency requirements or speak to an attorney about filing for legal separation while you wait for the residency requirements to be fulfilled.

While you can file a divorce against someone in another country, you must still follow California’s Rules of Civil Procedure for serving them with the divorce papers and giving them proper notice of hearings and opportunities to respond to the divorce. A California family lawyer can help you meet these requirements.

Ventura, CA Divorce Lawyer for Marriages Abroad

Whether you’ve live in California all your life or for only 6 months, California law usually allows you to get divorced, even if you were married in another state or another country. For help filing your divorce case, contact the Ventura family law attorneys at the Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth today. Call our law offices at (805) 585-5056.

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The Law Offices of Bamieh & Erickson, PLC

692 E Thompson Blvd
Ventura, CA 93001
(805) 651-3133
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The Law Offices of Bamieh & Erickson, PLC

209 E Anapamu St
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
(805) 861-2363
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