As more and more people move abroad, many couples will face divorce in a foreign court. Such situations will require professional translation services. But dealing with professional language translators and court interpreters will not be as challenging as having the foreign granted divorce recognized by a U.S. court – if the marriage occurred in the United States. Typically this becomes relevant when one or both of the parties moves to the U.S. and issues regarding support or custody arise.
According to federal law, the Full Faith and Credit Clause does not apply to foreign judgments and thus courts cannot give foreign divorce judgments full force and effect. Magner v. Hobby, 215 F.2d 190 (2d Cir. 1954).
For this reason, a foreign granted divorce will only be recognized if the foreign judgment is in accordance with the principles of comity among nations. The courts have described this notion as the court’s recognition of an international duty, convenience and respect for the judicial acts of another nation, thus making it customary to give foreign decree enforceability to the extent it would be granted by the issuing country – so long as the foreign jurisdiction used due process of the law. In Will of Brown, 505 N.W.S.2d 334, 337 (Sur. Ct. 1986). In other words, a party must be able to show the U.S. court that the requisites for comity are met in the foreign granted divorce. This will typically involve a professional foreign language translation of the document.
To read our legal translation blog entry “Legal Document Translation, the Parol Evidence Rule and the Statute of Frauds: What You Need to Know about Cross-Border Prenuptial Agreements”, click here.
And to read ” Legal interpreters, Legal Translators and Enforceability of Foreign Prenuptial Agreements with Foreign Brides or Grooms under California Law”, click here.