Enforcing U.S. divorce court orders if living in another country

divorce attorney Jill DuffyQuestion:

I have a court order to pay alimony to my ex-wife. However, I have moved to another country (Australia).

What jurisdiction does the state have in Australia to force me to continue to pay spousal support?


It is unlikely that your state has any jurisdiction to come to Australia to enforce payment of the order. However, Australia may have procedures for entry of a foreign (U.S.) order, and allow registration of the order in Australia for enforcement purposes.

Every state in the United States has procedures for registering out of state and foreign orders within that state.

Just because Australia may not have jurisdiction to enforce the order at this time, does not mean that you do not have to follow the order. The order does not become null just because you no longer live in the country.

Your state will continue to monitor your support arrears and could put a hold on your driver’s license or passport to secure payment. They also could issue a bench warrant for your arrest which, worst case scenario, could lead to you getting arrested at an airport while traveling and being detained for days or weeks until you can see a judge in your state.

You should contact an attorney who is licensed in your case or Australia to further discuss the specifics of your situation and how each countries law will apply to your case. Cordell & Cordell represents men in divorce nationwide.

To schedule an appointment with Jill A. Duffy, an Associate Attorney in the Troy, Michigan, office, please contact Cordell & Cordell.

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