A divorce may never reach the courtroom. When both parties have exhausted or rejected all other means of reconciliation, the legal process could put them before a judge. The steps required to initiate a divorce follow a procedure specific to each state. A general understanding of the divorce process, however, can aid both spouses in understanding how to protect their interests.
A divorce begins upon the filing of a complaint for divorce that explains the legal basis for the request. Served upon the other spouse, the document also sets demands for related issues such as distribution of assets and child custody and support on specific forms. The failure to settle after exchanging documents or during subsequent settlement meetings can lead to trial. States establish basic requirements to permit a divorce to continue. Among other common ones—waiting period and grounds—residency can complicate matters.
Egyptian woman satisfied two-year continuous requirement
A case tried recently in New York State Supreme Court for Richmond County highlights this issue. In July of 2017, a man and woman were married in Alexandria, Egypt. Both citizens of Egypt, the man moved to the United States in October of 2017; the woman relocated here around April of 2019. While residing here, the man sought and received an Egyptian Divorce Judgment in December of 2021 through a power of attorney.
Court distinguishes domicile from residency
The man telephoned the woman the next day, informing her that he had satisfied the requirements under Egyptian law for divorce. The court addressed whether it could rule on the woman’s complaint in light of the Egyptian judgment. The decision not to recognize the Egyptian divorce rested almost exclusively on the issue of residency. The court distinguished between residency, as defined under state law, and domicile. Documents the woman provided showed she had resided in New York continuously for at least two years prior to her filing the complaint. The court ordered the parties to commence exchanging documents.
The prospect of divorce overwhelms every person involved. Spouses and children confront unexpected and unforeseen emotions, as well financial insecurity. Attorneys who understand the legal process can offer guidance amidst these concerns.