How to Divorce an Illegal Immigrant

By Valerie Stevens

Illegal immigrants have almost the same legal rights as citizens in the U.S. -- at least with regard to marriage and divorce. The Fourth and Fifth Amendments of the Constitution guarantee immigrants equal protection under the law and the same access to U.S. courts.The legal process to divorce an illegal immigrant is the same as the process to divorce a citizen.

Step 1

Determine where you need to file for divorce, usually with the clerk of court in the county where you live. You might have to wait until you have lived in your jurisdiction the required period of time if your spouse has left the country.

Step 2

File a summons and verified complaint for divorce and pay the required filing fee. Keep a stamped copy for yourself.

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Step 3

Serve a copy of the summons and complaint on your spouse by hiring a process server or law enforcement officer. In some states, you can serve him by certified U.S. mail. Have your spouse served in the country where he is currently living if he has already left the country or been deported. If he is in jail awaiting deportation, have him served in jail. Finally, you may ask family court personnel about the possibility of publishing notice in a newspaper if you do not know where your spouse is.

Step 4

File a document signed by the process server, officer or publisher with the court to prove your spouse was given proper service.

Step 5

Wait the required time -- typically 30 days -- to give your spouse an opportunity to respond. Even if he is in another country, he can respond through the mail. If your spouse responds, you might have to involve a guardian ad litem if children are involved or go through mediation, depending on the laws of the state where you file.

Step 6

Ask the court to schedule a hearing and let your spouse know the date if he responded to your complaint.

Step 7

Attend your hearing with witnesses, if required. If your divorce is granted, court personnel will ask you for information about your spouse, including his Social Security number. If necessary, you must tell them he does not have a Social Security number.

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Step-by-Step Instructions for Filing a Divorce in Kentucky


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