International family law issues of expatriate Texans and foreign nationals divorcing in Texas
International legal issues are becoming more frequent in divorce and family law as more families move to the Dallas area for professional jobs and business opportunities. The Metroplex is said to be one of the best places for entrepreneurs and executives working in competitive industries. Sometimes international families in North Texas hit the same snags in life as we all do and need to file a divorce or family law case. While it is customary to expect divorce and family law attorneys in Dallas County to be able to anticipate procedure and expectations in one of the other Metroplex counties, it is another matter to negotiate an international divorce or family law case with a variety of legal and procedural challenges. International law affecting families does not have to be an overwhelming challenge, and it can be managed similar to domestic divorce cases when knowledge and relevant experience is needed.
Examples of families who may have international divorce and family law needs
There are plenty of Dallas area residents and native-born U.S. citizens who work internationally, for companies based abroad, where living in another country is a work requirement. Working overseas as an expatriate, some people fall in love and get married to citizens of other countries and other s may be forced to leave their spouse and family here in Dallas while they work overseas. Either scenario presents compelling challenges in relationships. Moreover, when expatriate work assignments end and it is time to come home, there can be significant life adjustments required. It’s possible the new love of your life you met overseas does not fall in love with life in Dallas, Texas when they arrive here and a split may be on the horizon.
Consider another Texas family with roots and citizenship overseas. The couple may have come to Texas for education and career reasons many years ago, and for some reason one spouse decides to go back home overseas or is divorcing with the intent on remaining in Dallas. International issues in this scenario can include jurisdiction over the people, and children involved, property located outside Texas and the U.S. and a network of complicating treaties, laws and cultural barriers making for a challenging international divorce or family law case. Premarital agreements entered in foreign countries and their enforceability is another challenge in some cases.
Does the Texas court have jurisdiction over the case? What happens when other countries do not recognize U.S. law? Is an overseas agreement valid and enforceable in Texas courts?
The sources of a court’s jurisdiction over people and property in a divorce or family law case arise out of state law, such as the Texas Family Code. Foreign agreements and treaties among nations also serve as a source of law or agreement to recognize and enforce the laws among nation states. While Texas courts may asset jurisdiction over parties living in the state of Texas, other courts in foreign countries may not honor a Texas court’s assertion of jurisdiction.
In legal issues involving agreements, such as pre-marital agreements, conflicting laws can present challenges in international divorce cases. Mahr agreements, for example, are pre-marital agreements in Islamic marriages, and particular cultural rules and international laws can affect a Texas divorce case and the enforceability of a pre-marital agreement.
When children are involved, there can be challenges to which court has jurisdiction over the children. The Hague Abduction Convention is a treaty joined by the U.S. and several other countries. The Convention serves to protect against the international abduction of children by parents or others in contradiction of the rules of the home state court. The Convention provides legal mechanisms for countries to work through international abduction cases. Not all countries have signed the Hague Abduction Convention and there may be unique challenges
Experienced family law attorneys know who to call and how to navigate complex divorce and family law cases involving foreign nationals in Texas and Texans with international ties.
Sometimes there is an art to negotiating and advocating for clients in international cases. There may be a time to honor and respect another culture, remembering you may get more flies with honey, than the alternative. When it comes to advancing litigation and challenging complex situations, getting it done right the first time is a best bet.
Dallas and Collin County Board Certified divorce and family law attorney, Mark Scroggins, along with their team at Scroggins Law Group advise and represent DFW Metroplex families with all their legal issues, with domestic and international implications.
At Scroggins Law Group, our Dallas and Collin County divorce attorneys have more than over 24 years of collective experience with family law cases. When you retain our firm, you can trust that your case is in the hands of a highly skilled, dedicated professional. we understand the unique challenges of a high value divorce case, and more importantly, have the knowledge and experience you need on your side. Call us today to learn more about Texas divorce and family law: (214) 469-3100.
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*Mark L. Scroggins is *board-certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Unless otherwise noted, other attorneys are not *board-certified.
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