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..::Authentication of Foreign Divorces in U.S.A: There have been a number of determinations by the U.S. Social Security Administration, Veterans Administration, and Internal Revenue Service regarding the validity of foreign divorces based on the laws of the state of residence applicable with respect to claims for benefits. For SSA, see http://www.ssa.gov/. See also, 20 C.F.R. 404.314, SSR 66-1; 20 CFR 404.328(a), 404.1101, and 404.1104, SSR 72-61; 20 CFR 404.335(a), SSR 73-10a; 20 CFR 404.336, SSR 75-16; SSR 61-65; 20 CFR 404.340(c), SSR 88-15c, Section 202(g)(1)(A) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 402(g)(1)(A) (Slessinger v. Secretary of Health and Human Services, 1A Unempl. Ins. Rep. (CCH), 17,843 (1st Cir. 1987). (Cunningham v. Harris, 658 F.2d 239, 243 (4th Cir. 1981).; Thompson v. Harris, 504 F. Supp. 653, 654 (D. Mass. 1980); Lugot v. Harris, 499 F. Supp. 1118 (D. Nev. 1980). For Veterans Administration, see 27 FR 6281, July 3, 1962, as amended by 35 FR 16831, October 31, 1970; 40 FR 53581, November 19, 1975; 52 FR 19349, May 22, 1987. For the IRS, see Estate of Felt v. Comm”r, 54 T.C.M. (CCH) 528 (1987). It is our understanding that when obtained in good faith and not a sham for tax-avoidance purpose, the Internal Revenue Service recognizes foreign divorces.
TREATIES: The United States is not a party to the Hague Convention on the Recognition of Divorces and Legal Separations of June 1, 1970 (978 U.N.T.S. 399 (975). See also, 5 Int”l Legal Materials 389, 393 (1966); 14 Am. J. Comp. L. 697, 700 (1966); 8 Int”l Legal Materials 31, 34 (1969); 8 Int”l Legal Materials 787, 800 (1969); 18 Int”l and Comp. L.Q. 488 (1969); 5 Family L.Q. 321 (1971); Reese, The Hague Draft Convention on Recognition of Foreign Divorces: A Comments, 14 Am. J. Comp. L. 692 (1966); Von Mehren, Draft Convention on the Recognition of Divorces and Legal Separations: Introductory Note, 16 Am. J. Comp. L. 580 (1968); Hampton, Hunning, & Wadsley, Current Legal Developments, Hague Convention on Recognition of Divorce and Legal Separation, 18 Int”l and Comp. L.Q. 483, 488 (1969). The Convention relates to such recognition but not to any ancillary matters such as findings of fault, orders for maintenance or custody of children. The Convention is in force in Australia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
STATE v. FEDERAL JURISDICTION: Marriage and divorce generally are considered matters reserved to the states rather than to the federal government. See, Sosna v. Iowa, 419 U.S. 393, 404 (1975) and Armstrong v. Armstrong, 508 F. 2d 348 (1st Cir. 1974 ). There is no treaty in force between the United States and any country on enforcement of judgments, including recognition of foreign divorces.
AUTHENTICATION OF DIVORCE AND MARRIAGE RECORDS: It may be necessary for you to provide foreign authorities or your attorney with authenticated, translated copies of your foreign divorce decree and any other pertinent documents. Consult your foreign attorney before going to this expense. An information flyer explaining the authentication process is available from the Office of American Citizens Services via our home page. Other available topics include Hague Legalization Convention and General Authentication Flyer . See also the main U.S. State Department home page at http://www.state.gov/.