Our law firm has handled divorce, property division, spousal support, alimony pendente lite and child support matters, when people live overseas, but have Philadelphia area family law cases in court. We have experience representing people living in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Australia and Asia, who have family law matters in the Philadelphia area.
Often in multi-national divorces, support and property division matters, the parties have assets in the form of real estate, accounts, personal property and the like in countries other than the United States. Those assets need to be accounted for and valued, just as the assets, which are located in the United States need to valued.
When needed, we counsel with, or co-counsel with (in more complicated matters), attorneys, appraisers, financial professionals and others, in foreign countries, just as we do in the United States. Generally, with the assistance of our client and professionals in this area, we locate and engage these experts to perform necessary tasks in your representation.
There are times when, even though a divorce matter is being litigated in the United States, the law of a foreign country plays an important part in the case. For example, we represented a person who was married in a foreign country. Once married, the couple moved to Philadelphia to live. One party started a business, which over the years grew to over 400 employees and over $20,000,000.00 in annual revenue.
Unfortunately, their marriage was not as successful. They separated and filed for divorce. After the divorce was filed, one of the parties learned, for the first time, that one party was still married at the time of the marriage to the other party.
The party who discovered this information, whom we represented, wanted to suspend the divorce litigation so he could file to annul the marriage. A party to a marriage cannot be married to another person at the time of their marriage. They must be single or divorced.
We were successful in convincing the court that the divorce action should be suspended, in order to give the aggrieved party the time to have his marriage annulled. Once annulled, the divorce matter would be terminated because through the annulment, the court would effectively be finding that the party was never married to his current spouse at all. Hence, no need for a divorce.
The question then became in which country, the U.S., or the country of marriage, should the annulment be conducted. Our client wanted it to take place in his native country; the other party, in the United States. We engaged local counsel in the foreign country to advise us as to the foreign country’s law, and to provide statutes and case law on various topics, as well as to prepare the paperwork for the annulment action.
We were successful in convincing the court that the annulment action should take place in the country of marriage, rather than the United States.
These types of matters are at times complicated and challenging. Not all attorneys practice in international matters. If you would like to discuss us assisting you, please call to discuss.