Skip to main content

Can I get Divorced in Massachusetts if I was married in another country?

Assuming you are a resident of Massachusetts for 1 year, or you meet one of the other jurisdictional requirements to have your case heard in Massachusetts, the fact that your marriage was solemnized in another country will not usually make a difference.

With a few exceptions (such as going to a foreign jurisdiction to get married when you wouldn't be considered competent in MA), a foreign marriage is recognized as a legal marriage in MA so long as it is recognized as a legal marriage in the country of the marriage.  Under M.G.L. c. 207 s 36 you can file a foreign marriage certificate with your town clerk to have it recorded, if you want vital records to have a record of your marriage.

However, that usually isn't necessary in order to file a divorce.  You just have to file an original or a certified copy of the marriage certificate with the Complaint for Divorce.  If the original or certified copy is not in English then I would also recommend having a certified translation.

If you only have a copy of the marriage certificate with a certification or seal, you will need to obtain a certified copy of the certificate.  A regular copy won't be sufficient to obtain a divorce.  If you don't know anyone in the originating country that can contact a local clerk for you, then I would suggest starting with the embassy for that country to find out the best way to obtain a certified copy.

It may take a few weeks to get a certified copy, but if you need temporary orders due to some immediate concern then you may be able to get a Judge to allow your case to open by filing a Motion to Allow Filing of Certified Copy Late.  In the Motion you would explain why you need to be heard now, but can't obtain the certified copy right away.  If you convince a Judge that you are doing everything in your power to obtain the certified copy and will file it upon receipt, then the Judge may be willing to allow the divorce case to open and issue temporary orders.  Until the certified copy is filed, though, a Judge won't issue a final Judgment of Divorce.


Comments

  1. You should consult a lawyer in your area to find out about the residency requirements.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

What is the purpose of the Divorce Nisi waiting period?

In Massachusetts the statutory waiting period after a Judgment of Divorce and before the divorce becomes final (or absolute) is called the Nisi period. After a divorce case settles or goes to trial, a Judgment of Divorce Nisi will issue and it will become Absolute after a further ninety (90) days.

This waiting period serves the purpose of allowing parties to change their mind before the divorce becomes final. If the Judgment of Divorce Nisi has issued but not become final yet, and you and your spouse decide you don't want to get divorced, then you can file a Motion to Dismiss and the Judgment will be undone. Although many of my clients who are getting divorced think the idea of getting back together with their ex sounds crazy, I have had cases where this happened.

In addition to offering a grace period to change your mind, the Nisi period has three other legal effects:

1. The most obvious effect of the waiting period is that you cannot remarry during the Nisi period, because…

Does a Criminal Record affect Child Custody?

If one of the parents in a custody case has a criminal record, the types of crimes on their record could have an effect on their chances of obtaining custody. In custody cases the issue is always going to come down to whether or not the best interests of the child might be affected.

In the most extreme case, in which one parent has been convicted of first degree murder of the other parent, the law specifically prohibits visitation with the children until they are of a suitable age to assent.

Similarly, but to a less serious degree, in making custody and visitation determinations the court will consider crimes that would cause one to question the fitness of a parent. These types of crimes would obviously include any violent crime convictions which could call into question whether the children would be in danger around a parent who has shown themselves to resort to violence when faced with conflict. In addition, drug and alcohol abuse offenses would call into question a parent'…

The Questions that Lawyers and Mediators aren't asking but should: Let's talk about Pronouns

I recently had the opportunity to train with two of the most prominent mediators in Massachusetts: John Fiske and Diane Neumann. Each time they run a training, John and Diane share what they think is the most important question for a client to answer to have an effective mediation. John says that he thought the most important question is "What do I want?" But then he will tell you, with a knowing smile, that Diane disagreed with him and she would say that the most important question for a client to answer is "Who am I?"

I agree with Diane. The best lawyers and mediators ask their clients not just about what they want, but also deep questions about the clients' identity, goals, and values in order to help the clients resolve conflict in the most effective way possible. Despite knowing this, we often fail to ask clients the simplest questions when we first meet them or have them fill out an intake. We fail to give them an opportunity to answer the question “Who …