Legal Translation and Jurisdiction in International Divorces

We’ve blogged about foreign language interpretation of expert testimony in international family law cases and legal translation services for international child support enforcement.

When comparing jurisdictions in international family law cases, issues of procedural matters should take precedent over such issues as rules and practices concerning the division of assets, maintenance, etc. This is because the rules and practices are determined by the rules of procedure – in other words you cannot get a favorable division unless you know the discovery techniques, disclosure obligations, etc. of that particular jurisdiction. For example, California requires real disclosure while Austria, Japan and other civil law countries require very little.

In general, in civil law jurisdictions, like many European countries, it is required that the parties present their own evidence in the court, but there are typically no procedures for a party to engage in self-directed discovery. In other words, the evidence is presented to the judge to sort out and decide whether or not to call any witnesses. More so, a litigant is not expected to disclose all their assets and is only expected to present evidence that supports only their position.

This could present a challenge to the litigant, especially when the jurisdiction operates in a foreign language. All the evidence will have to include a foreign language translation, a foreign language interpreter will have to be on hand and a foreign language translation of the evidence and testimony will also have to be prepared.

Up Next: Translation Services and Unregistered Foreign Copyrights in U.S. Courts