Divorces involving immigrants and non-U.S. citizens living in Minnesota are treated exactly as all other divorces. That is, immigrants and non-U.S. citizens enjoy the full protection of Minnesota laws and full access to the courts so long as jurisdictional issues (e.g. 6 months residency) are met. However, certain situations offer unique challenges to the immigrant population. Our attorneys, having represented many non-U.S. citizens, specifically individuals from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Egypt, Palestine, and Turkey, understand these challenges.
To begin, Minnesota recognizes marriages that occurred in other countries so long as the marriage was valid in the home country and does not violate Minnesota law. If, after immigrating to the United States, a couple decides to end their marriage and start the divorce process, the state in which they live will have jurisdiction to oversee the process. In Minnesota, the divorce process will begin like any other divorce with the service and filing of a Summons and a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.
However, divorces involving immigrants present some unique situations. For example, one or both spouse may own land, plots, or other forms of real property in a foreign country. While Minnesota courts have the power to divide the martial estate justly and equitably, whether a Minnesota Order would be enforceable in a foreign jurisdiction must be considered when analyzing a settlement or trial strategy.
Another common issue concerns dowry-like exchanges between the parties incident to the marriage ceremony. Sometimes, a spouse whose family gave the dowry wants items returned as part of the divorce. Issues involving exchange of property or money incident to the marriage, whether or not characterized as a dowry or dower, can be complicated. Our experienced Minnesota Divorce lawyers have experience dealing with these issues.
Issues may also arise if the couple received gifts, like gold or jewelry, in contemplation of marriage. Minnesota law defines property as either marital or non-marital. As such, depending on when the parties received the gift and whether it was intended to be a gift to one spouse or both, Minnesota courts can take this into account when determining how to divide the marital estate in a divorce proceeding. Lastly, non-citizens contemplating a divorce should understand that obtaining a divorce in Minnesota might affect their immigration status. Our experienced divorce attorneys have experience analyzing bank accounts and property in foreign countries.
To learn more about how our office can help you obtain a divorce, contact one of our experienced divorce attorneys who understand the unique challenges faced by immigrants and non-citizens looking to obtain a divorce in Minnesota.