The New York Law Blog: International Divorces in New York Courts: International Family Law Basics
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Thursday, June 23, 2016

International Divorces in New York Courts: International Family Law Basics

Our law firm's New York attorneys handle many divorce and family matters for our international clients.  The major issues that arise are, typically, jurisdiction of the New York courts, service of process and the grounds for the New York divorce.  We wrote an article on the Grounds for a New York divorce and will be posting an article soon, also, on International Service of Divorce Documents in New York soon.
Foreign Divorce, International Divorce NY, Family Court

New York's Domestic Relations Law Section 230 allows New York courts to have jurisdiction over the parties in a divorce matter if and only if:
"1. The parties were married in the state and either party is a resident thereof when the action is commenced and has been a resident for a continuous period of one year immediately preceding, or 
2. The parties have resided in this state as husband and wife and either party is a resident thereof when the action is commenced and has been a resident for a continuous period of one year immediately preceding, or 
3. The cause occurred in the state and either party has been a resident thereof for a continuous period of at least one year immediately preceding the commencement of the action, or 
4. The cause occurred in the state and both parties are residents thereof at the time of the commencement of the action, or 
5. Either party has been a resident of the state for a continuous period of at least two years immediately preceding the commencement of the action."
If you fall into one of these categories, you may be able to divorce in a New York court.  Please beware that many local New York attorneys are not aware of international services issues.  Many believe that New York formalities will allow one to enforce the divorce abroad and guarantee the enforcement in New York.  The reality is far from this understanding.  We see this issue too often and need to fix issues caused by this issue - too often.

In order to enforce a divorce judgment abroad or to ensure that a New York court does not reopen a NY divorce judgment it is necessary to properly serve your spouse under the Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters.  If you are considering retaining an attorney to assist, please make sure the attorney is adept, also, at international law issues related to NY divorces.
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*Sean Hayes may be contacted at: SeanHayes@ipglegal.com. Sean Hayes is co-chair of the Korea Practice Team and Chair of International Practice Group at IPG Legal.  He is the first non-Korean attorney to have worked for the Korean court system (Constitutional Court of Korea) and one of the first non-Koreans to be a regular member of a Korean law faculty.  Sean is ranked, for Korea, as one of only two non-Korean lawyers as a Top Attorney by AsiaLaw.  He has, also, received the highest rating by AVVO and other legal rating services.