Two people talking while signing a divorce

Challenges and Solutions for Couples Divorcing With International Assets

By Michael DiFalco

Separating assets in a divorce is rarely an easy process. When you and your spouse have international assets, the issue only becomes more complicated. If you’re heading into divorce and have international assets to consider, it helps to be aware of some of the most common challenges you may encounter, as well as potential solutions. 

Dividing international assets during a divorce involves legal concerns like identifying jurisdiction and sometimes enforcing U.S. court orders on foreign soil. You should always consult a divorce attorney for help, particularly one who has experience navigating international legal matters. 

Locating International Assets

It might be surprising to hear that locating assets is a common challenge when a divorce involves international assets. However, this is a common issue. 

Foreign properties or bank account holdings aren’t always easy to track down. When one spouse wants to conceal assets so they aren’t divided during a divorce, simply inventorying the assets so they can be evaluated can be a challenging process. 

Failing to disclose assets during a divorce is illegal and can lead to fines and other penalties, but that doesn’t always deter this form of deception. It often takes documentation by the other spouse and investigation by their divorce attorney to track down international assets that should be included in the divorce agreement. 

Assessing International Assets

During the divorce process, the marital property is inventoried and then appraised. This helps ensure that the value of marital assets is known so that shared property can be fairly divided between spouses. Valuing international assets can be challenging, especially when the assets take the form of properties or possessions. 

Typically, you can ensure that the value of international assets gets fairly assessed by relying on your divorce attorney to hire a reputable international assessor. They will help you find someone who can be trusted to offer a fair, honest appraisal of the assets located abroad. 

Dividing International Assets

When assets are divided in a domestic divorce, the entire process falls under U.S. jurisdiction. This means that the spouses and all their assets are governed by U.S. law. A key challenge in international divorce occurs if one spouse is located abroad or if a U.S. court renders a judgment involving foreign assets like properties or bank holdings. 

In such cases, the laws are often at odds, and a judge’s verdict in a U.S. divorce case might contradict laws in the country where the assets are located. Thus, a U.S. divorce attorney may have to work with foreign lawyers or governments to arrive at a resolution that works for the divorcing spouses and aligns with the laws of both countries. 

Protecting Yourself in an International Divorce 

There’s no question that a divorce involving international properties can be far more complex than one involving only domestic assets. There’s also a greater risk of one spouse not receiving their fair share of marital assets, especially if they decide to look for assets abroad. 

Successfully navigating an international divorce requires a certain amount of strategy. Steps you can take to help protect your assets include: 

  • Choose a lawyer with experience handling international assets
  • Consult a lawyer before you inform your spouse of the divorce
  • Collect evidence of international assets, like bank accounts and properties
  • Consider other legal concerns like child custody and taxes

Some planning can help ensure you’re protected and that all international assets are fully accounted for. 

Call Our New York Divorce Lawyers for Help

The New York divorce attorneys at Aiello & DiFalco understand the complexities of a divorce that involves international assets. Our skilled legal team can fight for the best financial outcome to your divorce and help you strategically plan for the challenges that accompany the division of international assets. 

Call Aiello & DiFalco today to schedule a consultation with a divorce attorney in Garden City, NY.

About the Author
I am a partner at Aiello & DiFalco LLP, and my priority for my clients is to guide them through an arduous court case to provide them with the opportunity to write the next chapter in their life. I tailor my approach to each client’s priorities and positions, and to the extent that matters can be predicted, I will always provide a realistic perspective of how the law could be applied to the particular facts and circumstances of a case. Since I thrive on helping people and solving problems, I bring an optimistic and positive approach to practicing in a very difficult area of law. With more than a decade of experience handling hundreds of cases, I have the ability to get results on the issues my clients view as priorities. When cases or certain issues cannot be settled, I have a solid record of success at trials, hearings, and on appeals. Feel free to contact me for a free initial consultation, I am always available to help.