My guess is that many people who otherwise do qualify for a simple, low-cost, uncontested, no-fault divorce never contact me because their spouses live in Mexico or other parts of the world other than the USA. That would indeed be a shame because they do not have to go to an expensive local attorney to get divorced.

When a client asks me if I can handle a divorce when the defendant spouse is in Mexico (or Panama or Brazil or Spain or France or Poland or any other country for that matter), I frequently say, just to make the point as strongly as possible, that I can handle the divorce if the defendant spouse is living at the South Pole (Antarctica) as long as that spouse can receive mail, send mail and is fully cooperative.

As long as at least one of the two parties has been living in Pennsylvania for at least the last six months, the other party, if available and cooperative, may be quite literally any place in the world. Fact is that I have handled divorces with parties in every US state and most countries around the world… as long as at least one of the two people was here in Pennsylvania. This of course means that my client could be residing outside of the USA as long as the defendant spouse had been residing in Pennsylvania for the last six months or more or the other way around.

And regarding people who want a divorce wherein one or both parties are in the full-time military service, the same law and rules apply as long as at least one of the two is posted, stationed or based in Pennsylvania for at least the last six months OR if at least one has Pennsylvania as the official military home of record. A sailor contacted me for a divorce who was currently deployed on a US Navy submarine boat in a confidential foreign location while his spouse was on another sub elsewhere in the world. Both could receive and send mail and one of them had Pennsylvania as the official military home of record. Due to the rather lengthy time that the mail to and from these sailors took, the divorce process took somewhat longer than usual, but it worked exactly the same as if they both resided in the same Pennsylvania town.

Having at least one of the two people – and it can be my client OR my client’s spouse – reside in Pennsylvania is extremely important to getting a legally valid final decree in divorce. A misspelling or incorrect date or place is not what the law considers a “substantive” (or fatal) error and a divorce with that type of error would be perfectly valid; however, if neither of the two parties has been in Pennsylvania for every day of the six months preceding the filing of the divorce in Court, then the Court had no “jurisdiction” over either party and that decree in divorce would be permanently defective. If a person had such a decree and used it to obtain a subsequent marriage license and got married, that would be bigamy, a felony. Just a word to the wise.