If you’re living abroad and you’re eager to divorce, you’re probably considering a speedy offshore divorce. Offshore divorce is a great option for couples residing in different countries. You don’t have to meet complicated residency requirements that may have been preventing you from divorcing sooner. You also don’t have to abide by lengthy waiting periods or pay exorbitant attorneys’ fees to obtain a divorce.
Offshore divorces involve minimal requirements, but there is one thing that is required in all cases. Unless you or your spouse is a resident of the country where you plan to divorce, at least one of you must make a court appearance.
One of the worst offshore divorce scams to plague the Internet involves disreputable law firms and phantom companies that promise fast and easy divorces by proxy, or through the mail. These are typically offered from Dominican Republic, but beware – any Dominican divorce that doesn’t require one of the parties to travel there is a scam. It is not legal.
The lure of the scam is obvious to any international couple. Residing in different countries makes divorce so time consuming, expensive and stressful, an overseas divorce by proxy sounds like heaven. You don’t have to take time off from work or pay to travel. In just a few days, you’ll be divorced, and both you and your spouse can move on with your lives.
Unfortunately in this case, it turns out that what sounds too good to be true is nothing but a scam. Regardless of how convincing a website might be or how impressed you are with an attorney’s credentials, any divorce obtained by proxy that doesn’t involve actually appearing in court is illegal. It will not stand up in court if it is challenged, and you will remain legally married, even if you hold a divorce decree that says you’re not.
To avoid ending up paying for a divorce that is by no means legal, assume that either you or your spouse will need to travel to obtain an overseas divorce. Fortunately, there are reputable law firms and other specialized companies that can make the entire process smooth and simple. You can file for a divorce in a matter of minutes if you travel to Haiti, the Dominican Republic or certain other countries, but the rule is at least one half of the divorcing couple must make a court appearance.