You are still required to file a divorce petition and serve your spouse with a copy of the summons, petition and any other documentation that may be attached. This is known as service of process.
The basic purpose of serving those documents on your spouse is to inform him or her of the commencement of divorce proceedings and to give the court personal jurisdiction over your spouse.
How Do I Serve Papers for an Oklahoma Divorce if Spouse is Out of Country?
If your spouse is a resident of a foreign country, you should contact the embassy of the country that he or she is located or the U.S. Department of State. The laws of that country will dictate how service should be accomplished.
If the country is part of a treaty with the United States, the Hague Service Convention procedures may need to be followed.
In some countries, it is possible to hire a process server or an attorney to serve the documents on your spouse.
Abiding by the service of process laws of the country that your spouse is located in is very important. Failure to do so could result in the foreign country refusing to recognize and enforce your final divorce decree.
This could become an issue if the court has ordered child custody and child support or alimony.
What If I Do Not Know Exactly Where My Spouse is Located?
If you know what country your spouse is in, but do not have an exact address, you will need to conduct a diligent search to find him or her.
You may go the post office and find out if there is a forwarding address, talk to friends and relatives, conduct internet and social media searches, and take any other action that you feel may help in locating your spouse.
If, after your diligent search, you cannot locate your spouse, you may request that the court allow service by publication. If the court allows such publication, the summons must be published in a local newspaper that is authorized to print legal notices.
If your county of residence does not have such a newspaper, you may publish the summons in a neighboring county newspaper that meets that requirement.
What We Have Children?
When a spouse is out of the country and children are involved, your summons and petition must comply with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement act, UCCJEA, and the federal Parental Kidnap Prevention Act, FPKPA before attempting to obtain service of process.
Your divorce attorney can ensure that this requirement is met.
What Happens Next?
The summons that you served on your spouse will give him or her the exact number of days that he has to respond to the petition.
If your spouse responds and you are both in agreement with the divorce and all issues related to the dissolution of your marriage including division of marital property and child custody, a divorce may be granted a minimum of 90 days from the date the petition was filed.
That timeframe can be waived by the judge if you show good cause for it to do so. Good cause includes, for example, abandonment of one year or longer.
If your spouse responds and objects to certain portions of the divorce that you requested in your petition, such as marital assets or alimony, your final decree will not be entered until those issues have been resolved.
If you cannot work them out between you, the court will decide how the issues will be resolved. This process could easily take longer than 90 days.
If your spouse does not respond to the summons, the divorce process will move forward without his or her input.
If no children are involved, your divorce could be granted in as little as 10 days from the date your petition was filed.
Why Should I Hire an Attorney?
Oklahoma divorce laws are complex and can be confusing. An experienced Tulsa divorce attorney can assist you in all aspects of your divorce including service of process on your spouse.
Attempting to divorce your spouse without the help of an attorney could result in dismissal of your petition or a settlement that is not in your best interests because you were not aware of the consequences.
Free Consultation: Tulsa Divorce Attorney
Contact the Divorce of Tulsa Law Office at 918-924-5526 to schedule an appointment for your free consultation.
Our experienced divorce attorneys can answer any questions that you may have regarding your Oklahoma divorce if spouse is out of country. They can also advise you on any other divorce issues that you may have.