Many Californians have business or other interests that take them to other countries. However, if you or your spouse previously lived in California but one of you have maintained a California residency, you may still be able to file for divorce as any Californian resident would.

In California, you can file for divorce in the county either one of you live in. For example, if you live in one county and your spouse in another, as long as you both meet the residency requires, you can file in either county. This is called the jurisdiction and in divorce it is somewhat flexible. Jurisdiction can be challenged and your divorce may be filed in another county under rare circumstances, if traveling to one court would be too much of a burden for one party.

If you are the spouse residing in California and your spouse lives in a different country, you may be able to file for divorce in the county you live in, provided you’ve lived in California for six months and in that specific county you will file in for three months. It does not matter where your spouse lives. However, unless you and your spouse are in agreement over everything, you will need to officially serve him or her the divorce papers. This can be problematic with one spouse out of the country so speak to an experienced family law attorney regarding how to serve your spouse in the specific country they are living in. This may vary from place to place.

In general, the filing for and finalization of the divorce should not be a problem just because of where you or your spouse lives. However, if you have a minor child, the process will be more complex. International custody orders and parenting plans are difficult. Consult with a family law attorney skilled in international custody and timesharing arrangements to ensure you are doing what is best for your child and that you are adhering to the family law statues. Your finances may also make an international divorce tricky. Chances are, if you or your spouse lives in another country, you will have overseas accounts, property and other assets. It will take a skilled attorney to make sure all of these are accounted for and properly handled.

Luckily, because of email, phone and video conferencing and fax, much of a divorce can be handled via electronic communication. You may not need to have any office visits with your attorney, however you may or may not have some court appearances you must attend. If you are living overseas and will not be able to consult in person with your attorney, look for a firm that is highly digital so electronic copies of all documents are easy to obtain. Make sure they use best practices for confidential electronic communication to ensure your personal information is kept safe while emailed back and forth. These are some of the major concerns with international divorces, however every divorce will be different so consult with an attorney to ensure all issues in your international divorce are handled well.

Do you need help with you divorce or family law matter? Certified Family Law Specialist Steven Fernandez has experience handling many complex divorce issues in Los Angeles County. Attorney Steven Fernandez and his skilled legal team can ensure your international divorce is handled efficiently and diplomatically. Call our Los Angeles office at 310-564-5710; email us at or contact us through our online form to schedule your free consultation with one of Los Angeles’s premier family law attorneys.