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I live in the U.S. and my husband lives in Kenya, is it possible to file for divorce without him coming to the U.S.

Newark, NJ |
Filed under: Divorce

I married my boyfriend only a few weeks before i came to the usa. It has been 5 years now since we saw each other and we both have agreed to get a divorce. he still leaves in kenya and never been to the usa. We however have a 5 year old child who was born in the usa and therefore lives with me. is it possible for me to get a divorce here in the US while he is still in kenya?

Jeff, What do you mean by .." getting your husband served in kenya.." Am not familiar with the term served as applied here. Please explain. And yes we are in speaking terms. We just dont know where to start on this matter.

Attorney Answers 8


  1. Yes. The only barrier to your divorce is going to be getting your husband served in Kenya. If you and he are on speaking terms, he can make it very easy. Look at the service requirements in your jurisdiction and pick the one that's easiest for you.

    In Arizona, you can accept service without the need for a process server, you can serve by certified mail, use a process server, and there are other options, too. Your jurisdiction may be different, though, so be sure to check the local laws or call the clerk of court in your jurisdiction and ask about the different ways you can serve someone.

    If you have a hard time, contact an attorney in your jurisdiction. An uncontested divorce shouldn't be prohibitively expensive and you may just need to retain a lawyer for consultation purposes only (ie., you call and pay them for advice when you hit a roadblock or have questions).

    Good luck.


  2. How did you get to the US? Make sure that your marriage prior to entering the US did not violate any of the conditions of the visa that allowed you to enter the US. A violation of the visa conditions may subject you to deportation.

    Besides possible immigration issues, you should review your facts and options with an attorney regarding your family law issues.

    Your local attorney likely can tell you the procedures needed to start and finalize a divorce (dissolution of marriage) proceeding in your state.

    Here in WA, if one of the parties in the dissolution of marriage proceeding is a resident of WA and the other party accepts the WA court's jurisdiction, the WA court can decide all issues: status of marriage, spousal maintenance, child support, parenting plan, division of assets and debts, and everything else relating to the marriage.

    Here in WA, if the other party cannot be found and is not subject to the WA court's jurisdiction, the court can decide only on the status of the marriage.

    Different states can have totally different laws. You should review your situation with an attorney in the state in which you are living.


  3. If you have resided in New Jersey for the past 12 months, the Superior Court of New Jersey has jurisdiction over all causes of action for divorce, if one person is a resident of New Jersey when the action is started.

    There won't be JURISDICTION over the defendant, unless via registered mail, you are able to receive an acknowledgement of service of process, and an appearance (perhaps through his NJ lawyer), or an answer
    is filed to the complaint.

    NJ appears to have GROUNDS, compared to no fault which roughly means no reason needed to terminate the marriage. The laws vary from state to state on termination of a marriage. Desertion may be a ground best
    suited for you.

    You should DEFINITELY consult a NEW JERSEY FAMILY LAW lawyer for your case. Bring all birth, marriage, passport, and like documents and a list of dates of these events for your lawyer to review. The name of one NJ Family Law Lawyer is: Theodore Sliwinski, Esq. , 45 River Road, East Brunswick, NJ 08816

    If you personally, aren't legally in the U.S., that is a separate issue. ( In many states, people are able to marry, divorce, have children, and get ID's, even if they aren't a lawful permanent resident or citizen-- that depends on the state).


  4. Service of process refers to the judicial procedural requirement of giving notice of an action (in your case, the filing of the divorce action) in court. Please check with your NJ divorce lawyer as to whether notice by publication is effective in NJ.


  5. Yes, you can. A few of these answers assume you are asking thingsa that are not stated, such as immigration complications. Every state has procedures to serve notice of the lawsuit on a foreign resident, usually by registered mail with a return receipt. You should contact a family law attorney in your county to determine what the requirements are for you.


  6. He doesn't need to appear in the US for you to obtain a divorce. If you didn't have a child together, I'd point you toward a do-it-yourself website, http://www.njdivorcekit.com, but since you have a child you'll need at least a final order on this issue and probably (for both of your protection) a brief property settlement agreement. If the two of you are in agreement on the issues and just looking to get it over with, it should cost around $750 (+ filing fee).


  7. Yes. The easiest way is if you can both agree on everything and he will sign off on it. Getting in served will be hard if he contests it and does not want to be found. Good Luck.


  8. Getting a divorce in the US is not a problem. Certainly it can be done as we do it often. You can contact a divorce attorney or an immigration attorney who does this type of work. It does require a little more time than a consential divorce here in the US with both parties. He would have to be notified and served with the complaint to have an opportunity to respond as to whether he agrees to it or not.
    As you know Obama's father was also from Kenya.

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