Special issues arise in a divorce case when one party lives outside of California, especially if they live outside of the country. The United States is a party to two multilateral treaties on service of process. Depending on the country, additional steps may be necessary in the family law process to properly serve the other party.
Take for example Mexico. All legal proceedings must be serviced through Mexico’s Central Authority. In general, this requires the following:
- Complete/File Request Documents. After filing your initial family law paperwork at the family law court, you will then file a separate application for service of process in Mexico and acquire the judicial officer’s signatures.
- Authenticate Signatures. You will then have to authenticate the signatures on your approved request by sending it along with the necessary forms to the California Secretary of State. They will authenticate the signatures and provide you with an “apostille” (i.e., an official verification).
- Copy and Translate Documents. You must have all of the forms translated into Spanish. Many forms are already available in Spanish online.
- Send to Appropriate Mexican Court. The forms will then need to be submitted to the appropriate Mexican court in the state where the respondent resides. Once the court receives your request it will then assign someone to serve the respondent.
The rules and processes for serving a party outside of the United States are complicated. If the other party in your family law case lives outside of the country, you should contact an experienced Sacramento family law attorney for assistance.
This blog was written by Carolina Mejia Erazo under the supervision of James J. Tiehm. James is a family law attorney at Family Law Center. He practices exclusively family law and serves the greater Sacramento area, including the counties of Sacramento, El Dorado, Placer, and Yolo. If you need assistance with your divorce, call James at (916) 488-5088 to schedule a consultation.