Terese J. Singer

Overseas Residences in Divorce

Milwaukee Lawyers Helping You Navigate International Family Law Matters

The division of property is often one of the most difficult aspects of a divorce. Particularly for couples who have been together for a significant period of time, trying to divide up personal property, emotional mementos, or residences with years of history can be very difficult. This problem becomes even more complex when those assets, such as homes, are located overseas. At Reddin & Singer, LLP, our Milwaukee divorce attorneys can advise you about the unique rules or restrictions that may apply in your Wisconsin divorce when international assets are at issue.

Valuing International Property

One of the biggest initial challenges with including overseas residences in a divorce is how to value those residences and consider them within the overall asset portfolio that needs to be divided. Appraisers and courts in Wisconsin often will not be familiar with how to appraise international properties, and they may not fully understand where the property is located. In order to ensure that the residence is being fairly allocated, and neither party is being unfairly shortchanged in the division of assets, you may be required to hire a specialized international appraiser who can accurately evaluate the value of your home.

In addition to determining value, it is also important to consider taxes and additional expenses that may be imposed on the home by foreign governments. These types of costs factor into the value of the home and should be considered during the division of assets. For example, if the country in which the home is located charges a hefty yearly tax or fee for foreign home owners, this will need to be considered in reducing the overall value of the residence within your greater marital estate.

Enforcing Divorce Orders Abroad

Another complexity in dividing up ownership of foreign residences is enforcing that division in the country where the property is located, particularly if one spouse is opposed to losing ownership of the home. Many foreign courts will not automatically recognize a divorce order from the United States, and you may be required to take additional steps to have your foreign order recognized and enforced.

Alternatively, some countries may require you to go through a separate process and determination in their court system in order to have the ownership of the property changed. As you go through the process of finalizing the division of your assets in a Wisconsin court, you may also want to discuss with an attorney which additional steps or actions may be required in order to have your order upheld in the country where your property is located.

Child Custody Concerns Involving Spouses with Overseas Residences

In some situations, a spouse who lives in a foreign country may be tempted to flee there with a child from the marriage if they are not satisfied with the child custody arrangement ordered by the court in Wisconsin. Fortunately, international law provides ways to track down a spouse and child in a foreign country in many cases. While this situation is complicated and deeply unnerving, an attorney can guide you through the process of responding to an apparent child abduction by your ex-spouse and making sure that the court order governing the matter is respected. You may even be able to seek a modification of custody afterward to prevent your ex-spouse from abducting the child again.

Contact a Divorce Lawyer in Milwaukee to Protect Your Rights

Handling international assets in a divorce, whether disclosed or undisclosed, can be complicated. Often, the best defense in these types of situations is a strong offense, which means taking a proactive approach toward researching valuation issues, questions of foreign taxation, and privacy laws in the country where a residence is located. If you need to discuss complexities related to overseas residences, the attorneys at Reddin & Singer, LLP are available to answer any questions that you may have. Contact our office for more information at (414) 271-6400 or online. We represent people in Milwaukee, Port Washington, Racine, West Bend, Waukesha, and other areas of Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Washington, and Waukesha Counties.

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