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Dual Citizenship and Divorce

Posted on February 08, 2013 in Divorce

StaciAs a recent Forbes article acknowledges, the advent of modern technology, international travel, and a global economy have all contributed to international marriage being an increasingly common phenomenon. Unfortunately, however, marriages between citizens of different countries or people with dual citizenship are not immune to marital problems, separation, or divorce. If you are part of a dual citizenship marriage, you must be aware of the various potential implications well before you decide to engage in divorce proceedings.

When a person has dual citizenship or dual nationality, he or she is legally a citizen of two countries at the same time. In some cases, dual citizenship happens automatically upon birth, such as the case of a child who is born in a foreign country to U.S. citizens. Often, that child is not only a U.S. citizen, but also a citizen of the foreign country in which he or she was born. On the other hand, some people consciously choose to have dual citizenship. For instance, when a foreign-born person enters the U.S. and is naturalized as a U.S. citizen, then he or she does not lose citizenship in the foreign country.

If you find yourself in a crumbling dual citizenship marriage, and are considering divorce, the first consideration always should be the appropriate forum or jurisdiction for the divorce proceedings to take place. In typical cases, the divorce should occur in the country in which the parties are currently living. This situation, however, is not always advantageous for one party or the other. Some countries have made it very difficult for women to obtain a fair divorce settlement, or even to get divorced at all. Likewise, the financial consequences of divorcing in one country as opposed to another can be totally different.

Another question to consider is whether other countries will recognize the validity of a foreign divorce decree. As a general rule, the U.S. will recognize the legality of a foreign divorce, so long as the parties were living in that foreign country at the time of the divorce. Other countries, however, may or may not recognize a foreign divorce, depending on their laws and the circumstances surrounding your divorce.

Two of the most important considerations in divorce, i.e. property division and child custody, can become vastly more complicated when an international component is added to the mix. Particularly when it comes to international custody disputes, the stakes can become very high. For these reasons, it is essential that you utilize the services of a team of experts, including an Illinois attorney with experience handling multi-jurisdictional and/or international divorces. Not only can your attorney assist with choosing the best forum for your divorce, but he or she also can help you assemble a team of qualified individuals who can place you in the best position possible in your divorce proceedings.

Illinois State Bar Association DuPage County Bar Association Northwest Suburban Bar Association American Inns of Court DuPage Association of Woman Lawyers National Association of Woman Business Owners Illinois Association Criminal Defense Lawyers DuPage County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
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