Have you heard that you can obtain a “same-day divorce” in Las Vegas, Nevada?
This is a myth that has been floating around out there since I started my career in family law seventeen years ago.
First of all one spouse must be a resident of Nevada for at least six week’s before filing (which is one of the shortest residency requirements of any state), and it normally takes 60 to 90 days for the divorce to be final. However, unlike many jurisdictions, there is no waiting period to get married in Nevada.
What about the “same-day divorce” offered in the Dominican Republic?
Here is another potential land mine.
Before seeking a divorce in the Dominican Republic (D.R.), U.S. citizens should be aware of possible legal restrictions by their U.S. state of residence on divorces obtained abroad. It is advisable to contact an attorney in your state of residence to determine whether or not the courts of your state will recognize a Dominican divorce as valid. Some states, even if they will recognize Dominican divorces, may have special criteria or procedures particular to that state.
The other crazy thing about Dominican divorces is trying to obtain a copy of it.
According to the US Embassy located in the D.R., the public registry offices of the D.R. operate differently from those in the U.S. and documents concerning legal procedures are obtained differently here. The only record of a divorce is a hand-written entry in a book in one of the many civil registry offices in the city where the divorce was performed. Since the records are not entered alphabetically but chronologically, they can only be retrieved on that basis. In addition, registry employees do not perform searches for the public. Books for a particular month are made available so that an individual or her/his representative can locate the desired entry. An extract of the record can then be prepared by the registry employee for a fee.
Searching for a particular record can be very time consuming unless one knows the precise date of the divorce and the precise location of the civil registry office in which the book is physically located. Therefore, if you cannot be in the Dominican Republic to perform the search, you should consider hiring a lawyer or other representative to obtain the extract on your behalf.