Certified Translation for a Foreign Divorce

Certified Translation for a Tangled Situation

Legal translation services are vital for legal transactions, international business, and international adoption. Quite often, the validity of the transaction turns on the accuracy and quality of the legal document translations associated with the deal. The same holds true for transactions that might not be honored in the relevant jurisdictions.

What is that, you say?  Are there international proceedings that may be automatically invalid in the United States? Even with solid legal translations behind them? The answer is a resounding “yes.” Moreover, proper legal translations are necessary to unwind the invalid transaction after the fact.

Translations for Divorce While Overseas for Military Service

What we are referring to, of course, a so-called “foreign divorce.” Often utilized by military personnel who are serving overseas for a period of time. A foreign divorce is essentially a divorce obtained in a foreign country by one spouse, who then relies on the paperwork to assert that he or she is divorced, even though a court of relevant jurisdiction will not actually recognize the validity of the foreign divorce.

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to unwind a foreign divorce, or you are the unknowing spouse of someone who tried to obtain a divorce in a foreign country, you will need legal translation services. We invite you to contact legal translators for attorneys and lawyers at All Language Alliance, Inc.

We have been in the thick of many divorce cases involving two or more languages. We are experts in ensuring all the relevant documents that need translating are translated quickly and accurately. For more information, contact us by filling out “Translate Legal Documents” form on your right.

Why Would Anyone Engage in a Foreign Divorce?

Just like medication and medical treatment, divorce is expensive in the United States. Even without lawyer involved, a divorce can be a costly process. Add the cost of legal fees, and the expenses on both sides will be off to the races.

Accordingly, there is some appetite for quick, hassle-free, inexpensive divorces. In fact, Mexico and the Dominican Republic are known for being “divorce mills.” Divorce paperwork can be obtained quickly and cheaply. And presto! You are divorced. If only that were true.

Divorce Requires a Jurisdictional Basis to be Considered Valid

If someone obtains a divorce in a foreign country but does not reside in that foreign country, then the divorce is worthless. Whatever money you did spend on the foreign divorce proceeding is money down the drain, because all you will have are pretty divorce papers that will not be honored anywhere.

So how do you divorce a spouse who is in a foreign country?

To have a valid divorce, the divorce proceeding has to occur in a place where one of the spouses resides. For example, if you are a legal resident of Texas, and your estranged wife is a resident of Oklahoma, then the relevant divorce papers need to be filed in a court in one of those states. If you, however, skip over to Mexico to get a divorce completed, then neither Texas nor Oklahoma will honor that Mexican divorce decree.

The question then becomes: what next?

Certified Translation to Unwind the Foreign Divorce Problem

The “what next” is that you need to get your divorce done the proper way. The foreign divorce that you initially obtained on the cheap now becomes a complication that will cost you more money to unwind in a valid divorce proceeding. In sum, people have described a foreign divorce as a “cheap thrill.” It is paperwork to make you feel like you have gotten a divorce, when in fact you are still married.

Problems really begin to compound if you make the mistake of getting married to someone else, thinking that the foreign divorce was valid. What eventually becomes clear if you get a foreign divorce is that you need a legal translator to help you to unwind that foreign proceeding. That is where the legal translation agency All Language Alliance, Inc. comes in.

Hopefully with the help of good lawyers, and good legal translators, you can complete your divorce in a way that is ultimately valid.

Can a Foreign Divorce Ever Be Valid?

The answer is actually “yes.” If certain facts are in play, then it is possible to have your foreign divorce recognized by a court in the proper jurisdictions.

Will a Foreign Divorce be Recognized in the United States?

While U.S. courts typically do not recognize foreign divorces, those “certain facts” could swing the odds your way, they include:

Estoppel. If both parties participate in the foreign divorce action, then either is “estopped” from challenging the foreign divorce’s validity in a later court proceeding. For example, a husband may file for divorce in the Dominican Republic, and serve the filing on his wife. If his wife responds after accepting service and wants the divorce as well, then estoppel will apply.
Later Reliance. Even if a party does not participate in the foreign divorce, the party’s conduct in reliance on the divorce may render the foreign divorce “valid” in the eyes of relevant courts. For example, assume that the husband obtains a divorce in the Dominican Republic. If his wife remarries, relying on the foreign divorce, then the foreign divorce would be viewed as valid because the wife – the non-participant in the divorce – acted in reliance on it.
No Timely Challenge. The failure of a person who did not participate in a foreign divorce to timely challenge the divorce may be held to the divorce after a period of years.

According to the U.S. Department of State, you will need to obtain and provide certified, authenticated, and/or translated copies of foreign marriage certificates and/or divorce decrees.

Legal Translators are Needed for All Facets of the Foreign Divorce

As you can see from this blog, a foreign divorce opens up a “Pandora’s box” of problems. Further, all of those problems are in at least two different languages. As such, you need the help of a professional, experienced, reliable legal translator who can handle translations for complex legal documents. Contact All Language Alliance, Inc. to get the help you need today.  We have extensive experience in translating foreign divorce decrees, divorce papers, foreign marriage certificate and divorce proceedings, divorce certificates, Apostille certificates and Apostilled documents, and other divorce papers from any foreign language, including German, Spanish, French, Russian, Portuguese, Swiss German, Chinese, Swedish to English.

**This legal translation blog should not be construed as legal advice. You should always consult an attorney regarding your specific legal needs.***

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