You can't see the future, but you can prepare for it, says attorney Michael Manely.

Editor’s note: This is a sponsored post paid for by The Manely Firm and written by attorney Michael Manely. 

Michael Manely

Cross-cultural and transnational marriages, though often enriching and rewarding, must contend not only with typical family dynamics, but also with tensions created by one or both spouses being from a different country or culture.

And often when things go awry, it can be easy for one party to get blindsided.

No one desires a divorce, but it’s crucial for both parties to be able to read the tea leaves of their relationship and either take corrective action or prepare for the worst.  

Couples – whether transnational or not – should evaluate the quality of their communication and time spent together and regularly take stock of the health of their relationship.  

Transnational couples have the added imperative of considering how ties to each party’s home country and work status affect their trajectory together:

-Has one spouse been renewing old friendships in their home country or spending less time with friends in the United States?  

-Does a spouse who is traveling abroad have events scheduled after their return?

-Is each spouse happily employed with a career that cannot be transferred? 

Understanding these dynamics may provide clues to whether a transnational couple should begin to prepare for a separation, and if children are involved, it’s that much more vital to plan carefully.

Statistically, about half of marriages go on swimmingly. Even so, it is a great idea to keep one’s eyes open. During my 30 years of international family law practice, I have learned certain warning signs that may indicate a transnational marriage is heading south. There are reliable red flags.

One could be a spouse’s secretive visit to his or her home country. This visit could be a disguise for a permanent return, especially if the spouse takes the children, as possession of children can be used as leverage for obtaining custody and a favorable financial outcome in a future divorce.

Understanding state law and the Hague Abduction Convention that governs international child relocation disputes can also be important in cases when one parent returns to their home country and does not come back.

I strongly suggest that transnational couples having problems or considering divorce sign a clear and legally binding agreement regarding travel.

A legal agreement needs to be in place that requires both spouses’ consent to access children’s passports and that specifies the terms of stay in a different country. This is an excellent plan to prevent any surprises.

Protect yourself with awareness and knowledge.  In the absence of a crystal ball that allows you to see into the future, planning now is the best way to prevent negative outcomes.

The Manely Firm P.C. specializes in cross-border divorce, international child abduction, international child-support collection, and international child relocation custody issues. Contact Michael Manely here or at (866) 687-8561.