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Offline rmakielski

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Divorce in two countries is double the trouble
« on: October 25, 2012, 09:13:45 AM »
YOUR MONEY-Divorce in two countries is double the trouble
By Geoff Williams
Oct 24 (Reuters) - Think divorce in the  United States is hard? Try ending your marriage in two countries at  once.
Red tape, financial obstructions and cultural differences are just a few of  the added problems faced by a divorcing American who is a dual citizen, living  abroad or married to a citizen of another country.
There are no statistics on how many Americans deal with divorce and dual  citizenship, but it is a growing trend due to custody issues, says Ken  Altshuler, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.
"We're seeing more parental kidnappings, more conflict, more litigation and  simply more to fight about," says Altshuler. "Back in, say, 1975, or even in the  1980s, if a woman wanted to move her kid to Brazil, she would have, and nobody  would have challenged that because the man was not going to win."
Robert Makielski of Culpeper, Virginia, hopes that is no longer the case as  he fights for custody of his two children. Gabriel, 5, and Isabel, 10, are  living in the Dominican Republic with his ex-wife, a citizen of that  country.
"I'm basically dealing with a corrupt system in a foreign court," says  Makielski, 52.
So far, he has spent $50,000 on his travails, and he figures he will spend  plenty more. "I expect to probably lose everything," he says.
Makielski's case is extreme, of course, but any dual citizen - or anyone  married to a dual citizen - in the midst of a divorce is going to find  themselves facing a host of problems.
The first question to consider is: Where is it going to be easiest for you to  divorce?
Just because you or your spouse is American, do not assume that you can file  for a U.S. divorce, especially if you live abroad.
"It doesn't matter where you were born, it's where you live that's going to  determine which court has the jurisdiction," says New York matrimonial lawyer  Marilyn Chinitz.
That is not always a bad situation. Emily Edwards, 30, a British and American  citizen, married and lived with her husband for two years in London. They then  moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, but soon decided they were not compatible,  and they divorced there in 2010.
Because the couple had no children or joint property, "for us, it was easy,"  says Edwards, who teaches English as a second language to adults at a private  school.
But the laws and outcomes can vary greatly from country to country. As a  general rule, divorce and dual citizen issues are easier to manage in the United  States and Europe. Laws that greatly favor men's rights over women's make  navigating a divorce in the Middle East and North Africa especially  challenging.
And if you and your spouse disagree about which country is best to divorce  in, it becomes a race. Whoever files the fastest determines where the divorce  will proceed.
If you have young children, location could be especially important. Think  Sally Field in the movie "Not Without My Daughter," the real-life story of Betty  Mahmoody, an American mother who struggled to escape from Iran with her  daughter. )
"It can be a very anxiety-ridden situation when you have this type of  multiple citizenship and children who are moved from location to location," says  New York matrimonial lawyer Malcolm Taub. "It makes it a much more complicated  proceeding even under the best of circumstances."
The international community has tried to streamline the judicial process when  it comes to divorcing across borders, primarily through the Hague Conference on  Private International Law, which has about 75 countries as members.
Still, that does not make it any less complicated for some parents,  particularly those living outside of their home turf. Chinitz gives the example  of an American married to a Swede who decides to move from New York to Stockholm  with their 3-year-old. Five years later, the American parent wants to divorce  and take the child back home. The other spouse says no way.
"The American parent is going to be in trouble, because she should have  consulted international counsel before making the move," Chinitz says
But what should you do in a situation where you think your child has been  abducted by the other parent? You should ask the state department or your local  government representatives to intervene, but you should keep your expectations  in check.
"They can get the dialogue going and can put you in touch with key people at  the American embassy, but if a country's going to say our citizen has custody,  and take their side, there's not much they can do," Altshuler says.
Given his ordeal, Makielski has these words of advice: "Don't get your kids  passports."
Many divorcing couples who hold dual citizenship find themselves splitting up  property around the globe. Similar to how it works with children, the court  deciding the case has the power to award property - even property in another  country - to one spouse or the other.
If a spouse is overseas with the property and refuses to give it up, you end  up having to hope for the best or to show up on the doorstep abroad and try to  work it out.
Malcolm Taub has a client whose husband left the country and let his visa  expire, which means he cannot return to get the divorce his wife is demanding.  If she wants a divorce and child support - and she does - she will have to  travel to get it.
"She will have to pursue him in a court in his country of origin," Taub says.  "There are so many twists and turns in these types of situations that it's  impossible to predict how they will play out."
I place the my children rights above my own; Children have the right to have a relationship with both parents; I stand against domestic violence and child abuse; The amicable return of Abducted children is the best solution; I will obey the laws of the United States

Offline wicasa

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Re: Divorce in two countries is double the trouble
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2022, 06:45:06 AM »