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Foreign Divorce Judgments

Attorneys Helping Families in Dallas

It is not uncommon for parties that were divorced in one state or country to then move to a new area. While they may assume that their prior divorce judgment will automatically be adhered to in the jurisdiction where they now live, that is typically not the case. Rather, parties seeking to enforce foreign divorce judgments must take certain actions to have it recognized by the courts, and the failure to do so can greatly impact a person’s rights and duties. If you were divorced in another state or country, and you or your spouse intend to take action to enforce the divorce judgment in Texas, you should consult a lawyer regarding your options. The capable Dallas divorce attorneys of McClure Law Group are skilled at handling complicated divorce matters, and we can assist you in taking the measures necessary to seek a just and prompt resolution.

Recognizing Foreign Divorce Judgments in Texas

Parties who wish to enforce foreign divorce judgments from another state or country must file a copy of the authenticated judgment with the clerk of a Texas court. The law provides that a foreign judgment has the same effect as a judgment issued by the court in which it was filed, and is subject to the same defenses, proceedings, and procedures. Texas law specifically defines a foreign judgment as a decree from a court in the United States or another country that is entitled to full faith and credit in Texas. Thus, a court may find that the judgment is not enforceable if the court issuing the judgment did not have jurisdiction over the parties or issues. Further, a court may refuse to honor foreign divorce judgments if the judgments were obtained without due process. In other words, the Texas Courts have found that the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution does not impose an obligation on a Texas court to find that a foreign divorce judgment is binding when the validity of the judgment is disputed or a party wishes for a modification. Thus, a party seeking to have a judgment enforced must prove that the judgment is lawful.

Enforcement of Foreign Divorce Judgments

Generally, if a foreign divorce judgment is filed with the court and deemed valid, a Texas court lacks authority to modify the terms of the judgment with regards to alimony or property division. Specifically, Texas law provides that Texas courts cannot modify spousal support orders that a court in another state or foreign country issued, as long as the other court has continuing and exclusive jurisdiction over the order. The courts can, however, enforce the judgment or issue an order to assist in its implementation or interpretation. The law treats child support obligations differently, however, and allows the Texas courts to modify them under certain circumstances. The Texas courts may enforce foreign child support orders as well. The requirements for seeking recognition, enforcement, or modification of a child support order vary depending on whether one or both parents currently reside in Texas, and whether the court that issued the original order is willing or has the ability to amend the order.

Speak to an Experienced Attorney in Dallas

When a court dissolves a marriage, the former spouses usually anticipate they will not have to take any further action, but if they move to another jurisdiction, they often have to take steps to determine if the divorce judgment will be enforced. If you or your former spouse moved to Texas from another area, it might impact your divorce judgment, and you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible. The experienced lawyers of McClure Law Group have the skills and resources needed to tackle complicated family law issues, such as child custody, and we will work tirelessly to help you pursue your desired outcome. We have an office in Dallas, and we can also meet parties for consultations at our Collin County office in Plano. We frequently represent people in divorce matters in Dallas, Rockwall, Richardson, Garland, Fort McKinney, Worth, Irving, and Frisco. Additionally, we assist people in family law cases in cities throughout Dallas, Denton, Rockwall, Grayson, Collin, and Tarrant Counties. You can contact us at 214.692.8200 or via our online form to set up a conference.

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