How to Divorce a Foreign Spouse?

How to Divorce a Foreign Spouse

How to Divorce a Foreign Spouse?

Based on the subjects, applications and case portfolios, it has been observed that one of the most common disputes is how to divorce a foreign spouse in Turkey. In order to shed the light on this dispute, we will talk about how to divorce a foreign spouse in Turkey.

To begin with, filing for divorce is not different from other divorce cases. Spouses must file a lawsuit before the competent court with a divorce petition. However, it should be known at the stage of divorce from a foreign spouse that the lawsuits to be filed abroad are not directly valid in Turkey. Spouses who are going to divorce a foreign spouse abroad and willing to enforce a foreign judgment in Turkey should file a petition for the recognition and/or enforcement of the judgment in question in Turkey after the divorce proceedings are binding and finalized.

Before Which Courts Will a Divorce Case be brought?

In the Turkish private international law Code, Article 13 refers to the law to be applied in divorce and separation. If the spouses have separate citizenship, the law to be applied is the law of joint residence, if not, the law of common habitual residence and in the absence of common habitual residence, Turkish law is applied seriatim.

If there is a contested divorce case, the place of jurisdiction is the place of residence of one of the spouses or the place where they have been together for the last six months before the lawsuit. If the divorce case is to be filed with a divorce settlement, the parties can initiate a lawsuit where they agree upon in the agreement.

The competent court is the Family Court.

How to Divorce a Foreign Spouse

There are two different types of lawsuits that can be filed to divorce a foreign spouse: uncontested divorce and contested divorce cases. In uncontested divorce cases, both parties want a divorce and fulfill the conditions of uncontested divorce determined by the applicable law. In contested divorce cases, one of the parties may not want to divorce a foreign spouse, and the parties may not be able to come to an agreement as a result of any material or moral consequence of the divorce.

It is an advantage that the case will be filed in Turkey. With the divorce case filed in Turkey, individuals can also terminate the divorce proceedings without the need for recognition and enforcement action.

However, at the stage of divorcing a foreign spouse, the case to be filed before foreign courts will cause a second lawsuit to be filed in Turkey after the case is finalized. Foreign judgments are not valid in Turkey until relevant judgments are duly recognized and enforced in Turkey.

When the spouse who is going to divorce a foreign spouse before a foreign court does not file this lawsuit in Turkey, the spouse to be filed will still be considered as a legal spouse and will be able to receive a share of the inheritance from the spouse filing a divorce case. In order to prevent such matters, Kapital Law headquartered in Izmir counsels its client in each step of the divorce proceedings.

Should I Get Help From a Lawyer to Divorce a Foreign Spouse?

Divorce a foreign spouse might be a nerve-racking process. individuals may face problems such as property division, compensation, alimony, and custody. Establishing a personal relationship with the child whose custody remains with the spouse, especially after the divorce from a foreign spouse, is quite strenuous since the foreign spouse can return to its country together with the child. For this reason, consulting a lawyer before taking any legal action is strongly recommended.

The process of divorcing a foreign spouse includes the possibility of a loss of rights not only in custody but also in financial consequences such as property division and alimony. Fault rates in divorce affect all the material and moral consequences of divorce. In divorce cases filed against a foreign spouse, the person has to defend his/her legal rights correctly and fulfill the legal procedures effectively. Otherwise, there is always the possibility of a loss of rights after divorce.

The Recognition of Foreign Divorce Decree in Turkey

In order for foreign court decisions to be recognized in Turkey, one of the parties will be able to file a lawsuit with his lawyer if he lives in Turkey. A notification is made to the party abroad, and in this way, the other party is informed about the case.

In case of non-participation, a decision is made through the recognition process in absentia. If neither the foreign party nor his lawyer participates in the case, the court will listen to the witness if exists and the recognition and enforcement of the foreign adjudication translated with the apostille annotation will be made regarding the foreign court decision

(apostille: a document approval system that allows a document to be authenticated and used legally in another country)

Only after the enforcement decision is finalized, the foreign divorce decree is recognized in Turkey. In order for the divorce decision to be recognized in Turkey, the decision must be the original decision and the apostille annotation must be approved by the Turkish judge.

The path to be followed by those aiming to make the foreign divorce verdict valid in our country by filing a recognition and enforcement case directly affects the duration of the recognition and enforcement case. Therefore is recommended that both parties file a divorce recognition and enforcement case with their lawyers in Turkey. By this means, the necessary legal procedures can be duly carried out and the recognition and enforcement proceedings of the foreign divorce decree can be finalized within 1 week to 3 months, depending on the workload of the court of the place where the case will be initialized.

Another common question in recognition and enforcement cases is the lawsuit fee. The way parties carry out the process determines the case fee. For instance, if both spouses carry out the process with a lawyer who deals with recognition and enforcement cases in Turkey, the process will be concluded quickly, so fees will be lower.

With the relevant documents for recognition and enforcement of the foreign divorce decree, individuals filing this case with an expert lawyer will ensure that their divorce is recognized and enforced in our country as soon as possible.

Enforcement of Divorce Decree

The concept of Enforcement of Divorce means enforcing the material and moral consequences of the foreign divorce decree. For example, the foreign court may order alimony to be paid after the divorce. At this point, since this decision is not recognized in our country, it is not possible to enforce it. Therefore, it is necessary to file a lawsuit for the enforcement of divorce in Turkey. Since the enforcement lawsuit also contains the conditions of recognition lawsuit, you can only file a divorce enforcement lawsuit for the recognition.

Documents Required for the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Divorce Decree:

– The original of the divorce decree given by the Foreign Court

– An annotation or apostille stating that the divorce decree given in a foreign court is final

– Translation of the divorce decree  into Turkish by a sworn translator, and having this translation approved by notary or consulates

– Photocopies of passports and identity cards of divorced persons abroad

– Power of attorney, if a power of attorney has been given to the lawyer for recognition and enforcement.

Countries Subject to Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Divorce Decree:

Germany, Netherlands, England, America, Austria, Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Norway, Australia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Russia, Ukraine, Sweden, Slovakia, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Egypt, Japan, China, Georgia, Bulgaria, Greece,Macedonia

“Divorce a Foreign Spouse” process should be handled with the help of a lawyer in order to reduce the duration of the lawsuit and to duly carry out the proceeding. Kapital Law Firm headquartered in Izmir-Turkey counsels its clients about the “divorce a foreign spouse” issue with its lawyers who are experts in the field of international law. You can contact us for further information.


You can click the link to take a glance to other articles. 

Av.Harun Ümit Eren

Av.Özge Aktaş

Sosyal Medyada Bizi Takip edin

Son Yazılar

Hukuki Yardım Al

Danışmak istediğiniz her konuda bize ulaşın!