Dominican Republic divorces - "Lo barato sale caro"
I spent sometime on the phone explaining the Florida alimony and child support laws and even though I am usually against girlfriends calling for their partners (you don't want to miss my post on this subject), this girl was actually cool to talk to. Even though I was in lovely Fort Lauderdale traffic, I enjoyed our conversation.
A couple of hours later the boyfriend calls and drops the bomb on me; he is considering doing his divorce in Dominican Republic because it would be "free" for him. I guess he has family over there that are attorneys or whatever.
I am not sure if I sounded to him like a know it all or just a bitch but I shot down that possibility quicker than an airplane falling with elephants inside. Why?
Definitely not because I want his business (even though I do of course),but those that have done business with me know I run a principle derived business. If I can't help you I will tell you. I rather lose money than have an unhappy customer; this I learned the hard way.
So why I was so against his grand idea of a divorce in Dominican Republic? Easy peasy:
1 - The child lives in Miami, therefore the jurisdiction for time sharing (visitation), is within the courts of the State of Florida. If after the divorce the mother denies him the child he can't go to a court in Florida and file a contempt of court motion because the divorce case was done in the Dominican Republic,
2 - It's not accepted in the State of Florida. If you file for divorce in a country where you are not domiciled Florida does not recognize the divorce so if he was to get the divorce in Dominican Republic and remarry here the marriage would be illegal. By law you have to file for divorce where you live. In Florida if you don't live in China you can't file in China. Ditto if you don't live in the Dominican Republic. Other States do accept this kind of divorces but not here.
3 - Immigration does not accept these divorces. Last year alone I divorced 3 people in Florida after they were "divorced" abroad in you guessed it Dominican Republic.
4 - Child support laws there do not apply here. But guess what? The mother can still file with the State Attorney's Child Support office and get the child support approved.
In summary; he would lose his time sharing - which by the way the mother is already denying him access to the child; she can still file for child support and if he does any immigration proceedings he has to do it all over again here and start from square one.
Peeps, I am from Puerto Rico and in my country there is a very popular saying "lo barato sale caro" which means "what's cheap will cost you more".
Maybe if there are no children and there is no immigation transactions in the near future a divorce like those they do in the Dominican Republic could work but why take the chances when there is an express divorce in Florida option? Yes it may not be free but it's affordable and more importantly it will protect you legally where it counts.
Written by Yamil Francisco, a member of the Florida Association of Legal Document Preparers and owner of Apex Legal Document Preparation Services. This post is property of Apex LDPS and is not authorized to be used without consent of the owner. This post is not legal advice, for legal advice please contact an attorney.