Doubling down: Divorcing in two countries at once

On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C posted in Child Custody on Thursday, October 25, 2012

As emotionally grueling as it can be get a divorce in St. Louis, it can be even more difficult when the two halves of a couple live in different nations.

Different laws, different cultures and even different layers of red tape exist that can make even a straightforward divorce — but especially a contentious split involving child custody — more difficult than it would be if the two spouses both lived in the United States.

“We’re seeing more parental kidnappings, more conflict, more litigation and simply more to fight about,” the president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers told Reuters of divorces involving two nations.

He said that 20 years ago, there was very little to fight about if a woman decided she wanted to leave the U.S. and return with her children to her homeland. He said courts back then were inclined to automatically grant child custody to the woman and few thought to challenge the status quo.

Today, men are more likely to ask for shared custody or primary custody, which can make multinational divorces much more complicated.

One man Reuters spoke to is fighting for custody of his two kids — a boy, five, and a girl, 10 — living with their mother, his ex-wife, in the Dominican Republic.

“I’m basically dealing with a corrupt system in a foreign court,” the man, 52, says.

He’s spent more than $50,000 on travel alone and expects to spend more, saying that in the end, he will “probably lose everything” in his custody battle.

There are places around the world — North Africa and the Middle East, for example — in which men’s rights are favored over women’s rights, and places in which rights are generally dealt with as they are here (Europe, for instance).

These are complicated legal matters that typically require the assistance of an experienced family law attorney to help a person sort through and deal with to protect their interests and the rights of their children.

Source: Reuters, “Divorce in two countries is double the trouble,” Oct. 24, 2012

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