How can I file for a divorce if I’m here in the Philippines?

Aug 8, 2012 by

Question: 

I need advice. I was married in California but now in Philippines and it has been 8 years already since I last heard from my husband without any support. I just want to get my divorce to have everything cleared out. How can I file for a divorce if I’m here in the Philippines? I can no longer go back to California due to my visa status. Please advise.

State: 
Washington

Answer: 

Although you now live in the Philippines, you may still file for divorce, or dissolution, in the state of Washington if your husband is a resident of Washington or is a member of the armed forces and is stationed there. Once you have determined your husband’s residency, you may petition for dissolution of your marriage with a Washington court. The fact that you live in the Philippines and cannot return may not be as troublesome as you have anticipated because Washington allows petitioners to complete the divorce process completely by mail if you file in Lincoln County. Your husband need not be a resident of Lincoln County so long as he is a resident of Washington.

When seeking a divorce in Washington, either spouse may do so on the grounds that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” Washington does not require that there be any proven fault that caused the divorce so long as the parties confirm that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Should your husband deny these grounds, the court will either transfer the case to a family court for resolution or it will consider all relevant factors and make its own decision.

It is always recommended to consult an attorney to ensure you are aware of all the options available to you in the case that other details complicate your situation. However, should you choose to proceed without an attorney, the paperwork that you must file may be found online:

http://www.courts.wa.gov/forms/?fa=forms.contribute&formID=13

In your petition, you must allege you and your husband’s last known state of residence (as well as the county if the state is Washington), the date and place of the marriage, the date of your separation, the names and ages of any dependent children, whether you are pregnant, any arrangements you both have agreed upon relating to the children or spousal support, whether there is property to be disposed of, and the relief that you are requesting. Although the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is the main document that must be filed, you may also be required to include several other documents depending on the issues surrounding your divorce. Some of them include Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, Sealed Financial Source Documents, and a confidential information form. An online legal forms service would be very helpful.

Since you “just want to get [your] divorce,” you may not have to deal with problems concerning property distribution, alimony, child custody, and child support if those issues are not contested or you and your husband have come to an agreement. However, if there are some points of contention, further paperwork and processing time will be required in order for the court to have all the information it needs to make its decision. Because these issues make a divorce much harder to handle on your own, it would be to your benefit to work with an attorney.

Please note that even if everything goes smoothly, there is still a 90 day waiting period after you file your petition with the court before your divorce can be finalized. Any complications will lengthen this time. – The Divorce.com Team

Wendy Jaffe and Divorce.com can only provide general information about divorce. DO NOT RELY ON MS. JAFFE’S ADVICE ALONE. Before acting on information provided by Ms. Jaffe or by Divorce.com, talk to an attorney first about your particular facts and the law of your state. By submitting your question to Divorce.com, you are not creating an attorney/client relationship with Ms. Jaffe or with any of the other attorneys listed on this site.

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