female judge on benchThis is the next post in my series on filing for divorce in Melbourne, Florida when your spouse is outside of the country. My last post discussed how to file for divorce when your spouse is outside the country and you know their location. It is important to remember that it is possible to receive a divorce even though your spouse is living abroad. If you know your spouse’s location, this can be easier for serving them with notice of the case. When serving a defendant abroad, papers can be served personally, via the United States consulate, or by publication if their location is unknown. In this article, I will be addressing how to file for divorce when your spouse has been deported. If you are in need of assistance then contact our office today to speak with a lawyer.

Florida courts will be able to grant a divorce even if your spouse has been deported, but the process may be time-consuming

When your spouse is not legally residing in the United States, they typically may not have the same rights and privileges as they would if they were a citizen. However, when it comes to divorce matters, such as child custody, property distribution, and child support, they will receive equal rights under the law. This means that seeking a divorce from a spouse that is illegally residing in the country will proceed in the same manner as if both spouses are citizens. Deportation is, of course, always a concern and a possibility. Unfortunately, when your spouse is deported and you are seeking a divorce, the process may be very time consuming. Prior to obtaining a divorce, it is required that the defendant spouse be served the official paperwork. Depending on what country your spouse has been deported to, it could be a time-consuming process.

Most countries follow service rules according to the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil and Commercial Matters. The documents must be served in the manner that is recognized by the country where the spouse is being served. It may be necessary to consult with an attorney who is experienced in the customs and policies of the country in question. However, it may also be possible to serve your spouse through an alternative method known as “publication.” Filing for divorce by publication may take approximately eight weeks. The process entails publishing a notice of the requested divorce in a newspaper for four consecutive weeks, or twenty-eight days. Once these four weeks have passed, the defendant spouse is given twenty days to file a response.

If the defendant spouse fails to respond within the required time period, the petitioner spouse can request a default judgment

If the defendant spouse fails to respond in time, the petitioner spouse may ask the Court to enter a default judgment. To do so, the petitioner spouse will attend an uncontested hearing with their counsel and explain that the defendant has failed to respond in a timely manner. The petitioner will tell the judge what they are seeking and, as long as it is legal, the judge will likely grant their request. Once the judge has signed the divorce order, the case will be closed and the couple will be divorced. However, if the defendant spouse does respond within the required time frame, the case will proceed to litigation.

It is incredibly challenging to deal with a divorce and is even more difficult when your spouse has been deported. Taking such matters into your own hands can be extremely overwhelming. It is crucial to retain an attorney with experience handling these matters as this can make your situation far less stressful. Our Melbourne divorce lawyer understands that you may be facing a serious situation and we will give your case the attention it deserves. Contact us online or by telephone to schedule an initial consultation. We are looking forward to being of assistance. We also serve the Brevard County cities of Titusville, Cocoa, Palm Bay, Grant, Valkaria, and Rockledge, as well as in the Indian River County areas of Fellsmere, Sebastian, Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, and Orchid.