My family is currently stationed overseas and my marriage is over. Can I get divorced while living overseas?
You likely can, assuming either you or your spouse can prove that you are “domiciled” (meaning you have legal residence) in that country, but the better question is should you? And for that, the short answer: it depends. A divorce order from another country may be more vulnerable to challenges down the road. Particularly if there are children involved, you must be aware that foreign custody orders are not usually enforceable in courts in the United States.
There are some issues associated with divorcing in the U.S. that maybe handled differently in another country: for example, whether a wife can resume using her maiden name upon divorce or whether alimony is an option.
There are other practical and financial considerations when deciding whether to divorce overseas including lose of base access privileges and whether the military will cover the moving expenses of the non-servicemember ex-spouse to return to the U.S.
For all these reasons (and many others) it is best to speak with a legal assistance attorney and likely, a foreign attorney with experience in family law matters in your area before filing any paper work. For some background information on divorcing in Europe or the Middle East, visit the Legal Eagle handouts prepared for the North Carolina State Bar. You can find information on making contacts with the appropriate legal professional in our Directory of Programs.