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The Divorce Encyclopedia
Dominican Divorce

Term Definition Dominican Divorce - a fast divorce in the Dominican Republic.
Application in Divorce Since 1971, foreigners have been able to obtain a fast divorce in the Dominican Republic -- in one day and without a residency requirement.

Four requirements (and a number of caveats) attach to this foreign divorce that may seem so attractive. These are the requirements:

1. The grounds must be mutual consent.
2. At least one spouse must appear in court in the Dominican Republic.
3. The other spouse "must be represented by a special power of attorney authorizing a representative to appear in court for him or her" and to consent to the divorce.
4. The parties must agree and consent to the jurisdiction of the Dominican Court.

In this regime, contested divorces are not allowed, nor are so-called "mail order" divorces, where neither party appears in court.

In order to prepare for the divorce, a couple must provide personal information that includes 1) the full name, 2) nationality, 3) occupation, 4) address, 5) passport numbers, 6) place and date of marriage, 7) names and birth dates of children, if any, and 8) the property settlement. From this, an attorney prepares a proper power of attorney. This is then taken to a Dominican Consulate, where it is authenticated by a consular officer. At the consular office, the parties also authenticate a true copy of their marriage certificate, the birth certificates of minor children and the property settlement.

The originals of all the paperwork are forwarded to a local attorney in the Dominican Republic, and a court date is set. One spouse arrives in the Dominican Republic the day before the trial and the next day in court, after a review of the documentation, the judge grants the divorce. The proceedings are usually over by noon, so "the traveling spouse may take the flight back home in the afternoon," according to one source.

A note of caution is in order. American citizens who wish to obtain a divorce in the Dominican Republic should consult with a local attorney in their home state. Although the courts in some jurisdictions have upheld Dominican divorces, courts in other jurisdictions have not. At the least, however, the divorce decrees must be authenticated by a United States embassy official. The authentication means that the signature on the decree matches the signature of a Dominican official of record as competent and empowered to sign the divorce decree. It does not mean that the divorce is recognized in the home state of the divorcing parties.

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