International Divorce tutorial: 10 tips for expats who are thinking of filing for divorce in a foreign country

1. Only hire local counsel after a thorough research online to make sure they have the experience and competence to handle an international divorce. Ask a lot of questions during the initial consultation to make sure the attorney or solicitor is properly vetted before you sign a retainer agreement.
2. Try to, if possible, return to your home country to file the divorce rather than file in a foreign jurisdiction. Sometimes, such as in England, it is possible to file for divorce without actually being physically present in the country. Get online and Google divorce solicitors and engage them by email to see if your situation lends for an absentee divorce filing.
3. Make sure that the lawyer you eventually hire is proficient in a language that you thoroughly understand.
4. Do not remove your minor children from the country without your spouse’s written permission – especially if your home country is a signatory to the Hague Convention such as the U.S. Canada and England.
5. If you think it is necessary, get in touch with your local embassy; if you are American visit websites such as the State Department’s if your rights or safety is in jeopardy, so that you can get necessary information and links to other helpful sites and people.
6. Safeguard your passport at all costs.
7. Where are the marital assets? Think about how you can safeguard as much as you can. Consult with a legal Professional as quickly as possible to see whether you can secure these assets with a court order.
8. Act quickly but think strategically. Do not make hasty décisions lest they should backfire.
9. Know the difference between words like “domicile” and “residence.” In addition, know that different countries have different rules with regard to things like custody, prenups, domicile and residency determination, and asset distribution.
10. If you do go ahead and get a divorce in a foreign country, make sure to get it translated into a language you understand; or in an international language like English.