Texas Divorce Due to Abandonment of Deported Illegal Aliens

By Timothy Mucciante

Although there is no specific reference to illegal aliens in the Texas Family Code, deportation of an illegal alien spouse may be considered abandonment and grounds for a divorce. A criminal conviction or the couple living apart are also grounds for divorce that may be supported by the deportation of the illegal alien. Any divorce petition must be served on the deported spouse, which has its own challenges; however, they may be overcome. Texas law also provides for no-fault divorce.

Although there is no specific reference to illegal aliens in the Texas Family Code, deportation of an illegal alien spouse may be considered abandonment and grounds for a divorce. A criminal conviction or the couple living apart are also grounds for divorce that may be supported by the deportation of the illegal alien. Any divorce petition must be served on the deported spouse, which has its own challenges; however, they may be overcome. Texas law also provides for no-fault divorce.

Spousal Abandonment

To prove abandonment, the husband or wife seeking divorce must prove the other spouse left intending abandonment and has been absent for more than one year. Abandonment intention may be implied from the illegal alien's actions -- putting himself in an illegal and precarious position, knowing he could never fully commit to staying with his spouse. A deported illegal alien will not be allowed back in the U.S. for at least three years, so the required one-year absence will be met.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Other Possible Divorce Grounds

As Texas is a no-fault divorce state, the only necessary divorce allegation is that that husband and wife can no longer live together due to marital discord or continuing disagreement or strife, and there is no chance they will get back together. A criminal conviction, which may be in conjunction with the deportation, is also a basis for divorce as is living apart for more than three years.

Serving the Divorce Petition on the Deported Alien

Texas civil procedure allows that any nonresident who is located in the U.S. may be served either personally or by certified mail, return receipt requested. If the deportee is being held in an immigration holding facility pending deportation, the spouse may still be served personally at that facility or by certified mail. You may use the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Detainee Locator to find the deportation facility where the spouse is detained.

Serving the Illegal Alien Spouse Outside the U.S.

Once the illegal alien spouse has been deported to his country of residence, he must be served in that country, if possible. The petition may be served by personal service or registered mail, return receipt requested, or by any other method ordered by the district court that does not conflict with the laws of the spouse's home country. Any alternative process service method in a foreign country “must be reasonably calculated" to give notice so that he may answer the divorce petition.

Publication/Substituted Service

A deported illegal alien is absent from Texas and a nonresident, so Texas civil procedure permits notice by publication as substituted service. Substituted service is any manner of service, other than certified mail and personal service, ordered by the court to give fair notice of the divorce action to the absent spouse. Before authorizing notice by publication, the court must find that due diligence has been employed to find the illegal alien. A notice is then placed in an approved local newspaper as a means of informing the absent spouse of the divorce action.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Tennessee's Laws on a Divorce From a Deported Spouse

References

Related articles

How to Divorce an Illegal That Was Deported From the U.S. to Mexico

The procedures for divorcing an illegal immigrant who has been deported to Mexico are not that different from divorcing anyone else. However, complications and added expense will likely arise if you have to arrange personal service of the legal documents on your spouse in Mexico. The U.S. Department of State describes the process for service in Mexico, called letters rogatory, as “a time consuming, cumbersome process.”

How to File for Divorce With an Ad in the Newspaper

Although state residency requirements vary somewhat, if you are seeking a divorce, you must typically file a petition for dissolution of marriage in the county where you live now, or where you lived as a couple. If you are unable to find your spouse, or your spouse is avoiding service of the petition, you can “serve by publication,” meaning you officially notify your spouse in a newspaper.

Abandonment and Fault-Based Divorces in Texas

Abandonment is one of the grounds for a fault-based divorce in Texas. Behavior such as abandonment may impact the court's decision when it awards custody of the children and decides how to divide the spouses' property. Proof of abandonment may entitle the abandoned spouse to legal custody of the children and a disproportionate share of the marital estate.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Divorce to an Immigrant That Has Been Deported

Deportation of an immigrant spouse disrupts the marital relationship. Unless the remaining spouse leaves the country to ...

How to Divorce by Publication in Ohio

At times, rather than file for divorce right away, a couple simply drifts apart. When this happens, eventually each ...

Can a Husband File for a Divorce If He Can't Find His Wife in Texas?

Texas law requires that you provide your spouse with a notice of a divorce action and afford her an opportunity ...

How to Divorce Someone Who Was Deported

Divorcing a spouse who has been deported involves more time and effort than divorcing a spouse who lives down the ...

Browse by category