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How do dual citizens divide marital property and assets?

Maryland residents who are dual citizens or who are married to dual citizens may have even more difficulties with many of the most important legal issues surrounding a divorce. Just because one or both spouses are American citizens does not mean that either can file for divorce in the U.S. For example, if an American is living abroad, many times a foreign court may have jurisdiction over certain issues surrounding a divorce, because where that person lives determines which court has jurisdiction.

With respect to the issue of how to divide marital property, whichever court has jurisdiction over the case will also be able to award property, even if it is located in another country.

The laws and outcomes can vary greatly from country to country, and the concept of equitable distribution does not exist everywhere. Many times if there is a disagreement about where to file depending on which party will benefit the most, whoever files the fastest determines where the divorce will proceed.

One might actually have to travel to the foreign country if marital assets are overseas and the other spouse refuses to give them up.

If there are young children involved, it makes it a much more complicated proceeding, and very serious issues can arise when a child is taken by a foreign national to a foreign country. An example of such a predicament is an American man who marries a French woman and they move from Maryland to France with their 3-year-old. Then, 6 years later, the American parent wants to divorce and take the child back home. The other spouse refuses. The American parent may have a very difficult time.

Anyone who may be facing a divorce which involves property, assets or children located in another country should seek out as much information as possible prior to initiating the process. This is the best way to guarantee a successful outcome.

Source: Reuters,"Divorce in two countries is double the trouble," Geoff Williams, Oct. 24, 2012

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