Married Abroad? Know How Can You File for Divorce in Texas

Walters Gilbreath, PLLC

If you have been married abroad but now live in Texas, it is possible for you to file for divorce in Texas if you meet the Texas residency requirements. For the purpose of divorce, your residency in Texas will be established if:

  • You have lived in Texas for six months preceding the divorce, and
  • You have been living in the county where you are filing for divorce for the preceding three months.

Once you determine that you’re eligible to file for divorce in Texas(divorce when married abroad), take the following steps:

STEP 1: Locate Your Spouse

Find your spouse’s current address. You will have to give your spouse personal notice that you are filing for divorce, even if they still live abroad. This is difficult for some people who have moved to the U.S. and their spouse lives in an underdeveloped country.

STEP 2: Know the Long-Arm Statute in Texas

Find out what your state’s long-arm statute is. The long-arm statute will let you know if the local court will have personal jurisdiction over a spouse that does not live within the state. If the court cannot obtain personal jurisdiction via the long-arm statute then the state lacks the power to divorce you unless your spouse agrees to the divorce.

STEP 3: Provide the Foreign Marriage Certificate in English

Hire an attorney and provide him/her with the English translation of your certified marriage certificate if it is printed in any other language other than English. Use a licensed translator to do so; the translator will provide you with an affidavit certifying the translation as accurate.

STEP 4: File the Divorce Petition

Draft an Original Petition for Divorce. This is one of the main documents that your spouse will need to be served with. Get your attorney file this petition for you. You’ll need to include the date and location of your marriage, your and your spouse’s current address, and you may be required to allege the ground for divorce (i.e. Texas). Be sure to include any proposed property settlement and child custody arrangements if applicable.

STEP 5: Get Summons / Complaint Served

Get your attorney to issue a Summons or Complaint (depending on the state). The summons/complaint must be served with the Original Petition and will notify your spouse of the divorce that you filed and give them information regarding any hearing(s) currently set in the case.

STEP 6: Translate the Divorce Petition and the Summons

If the foreign country that you were married in requires it, prepare a translation of the Original Divorce Petition filed in the U.S. and the summons, etc. into the language of the foreign jurisdiction where the marriage took place. Again, use a licensed translator.

STEP 7: Answer & the Divorce Proceeding

Once your spouse files an answer, the state court will move forward with the divorce proceedings. If you properly served your foreign spouse and they fail to timely file their answer, you may be eligible to receive a default judgment.

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