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Old 13.02.2011, 20:52
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Divorce

Ok, please help me. Currently family on green card here in US. Been married for 18 years. We are both from Switzerland. I reside in the US and he resides in Switzerland. He comes to the US for a few months per year. I filed for divorce in the US. We have homes in both the US and Switzerland together.

A few more facts:
1. He currently owns a business in Switzerland
2. He established a business in the US as well (just months ago).
3. The divorce is mutual, but getting nasty.
4. He has violated the judges orders as to property removal, designating everything as his and hiding money.
5. He has changed all the bank accounts in Switzerland from joint to just himself.
6. He has refused to file any income tax paperwork in the US, and pays cash for everything.
7. Not that it matters now, but he has been cheating since 1992...admitted in court to current girlfriend, which he lives with in Switzerland.
8. We both worked in Switzerland. He currently works in Switzerland, I work in the US.

Can a US judge decide on property in the US and Switzerland? If so, how is it enforced in Switzerland?
How can I get bank staements in Switzerland? I have called and was told since the accounts are now in his name only, I can't get copies. What can I do? Can the US judge order bank records from Siwtzerland?
Please help me to get this over with.
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Old 13.02.2011, 21:01
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Re: Divorce

hi Texasvet, I'm sorry to hear about your impending divorce. Are you getting legal advice? If you are not, I urge you to do so immediately--worth more than advice from a pack of (non-lawyer) strangers on an Internet forum. You might try your embassy to see if they have names of lawyers versed in cross-border cases. Best of luck to you.

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What can I do? Can the US judge order bank records from Siwtzerland?
Please help me to get this over with.
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Old 13.02.2011, 22:43
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Re: Divorce

Make sure you advise all the banks about the situation, and get them to cancel the redraw on any mortgages you have...same with any investments...

on changing 'joint' to 'single' accounts without your signature...gotta wonder what happened there ?
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Old 13.02.2011, 23:01
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Re: Divorce

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on changing 'joint' to 'single' accounts without your signature...gotta wonder what happened there ?
How is that possible?
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Old 13.02.2011, 23:48
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Re: Divorce

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How is that possible?
It could be that it is an account where the second person has power of attorney. That would allow the primary account holder to withdraw the power of attorney, thus making it into a single account again.
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Old 14.02.2011, 00:15
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Re: Divorce

It sounds like complicated situation which involves multiple properties, banking accounts, how to split wealth between both divorcing sides and entitlement of each to their share. Hire a lawyer.
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Old 14.02.2011, 00:20
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Re: Divorce

You had better get on it fast.

He is obviously considering that he the is aggrieved party and is arranging things (legally or not) to suit his interests.

Unfortunately, you need lawyers and you need them now. This behaviour is not going to get better over time. When you point out that he is breaking the rules he will act insulted and behave as if you are the guilty aggressive party.

Truth is that we don't know who is at fault, it could be all on you. However that is not the point in this matter. In a divorce if he has had a girlfriend for years one doesn't get to shelter assets by simply moving them and pretending they don't exist anymore. If you don't move quickly they may disappear and the point will become moot.

Good luck.
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Old 14.02.2011, 00:20
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Re: Divorce

Thanks. I have a US attorney, but need an experienced attorney in International Law...any suggestions?
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Old 14.02.2011, 00:35
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Re: Divorce

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Thanks. I have a US attorney, but need an experienced attorney in International Law...any suggestions?
http://www.tbls.org/SpecialtyAreas.aspx
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Old 14.02.2011, 09:54
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Re: Divorce

there's unfortunately no such thing as international law, as you may be thinking about. your lawyer should ideally be advising you to retain counsel in switzerland as well, and your two lawyers should be coordinating their efforts.
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Old 14.02.2011, 10:15
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Re: Divorce

Hi texasvet I know a very good lawyer if you need one please PM me.
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Old 14.02.2011, 11:11
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Re: Divorce

Have you Googled "Private International Law"? - one/some of the listings may be of help.

I did this because I was looking for a site for a book I have which deals with this subject. There are chapters within that may be relevant - but this is only background reading, and no substitute for proper legal advice.

Here are 3 alternative sites relating to this publication:

http://www.abebooks.com/978040653081...0406530815/plp

http://www.worldcat.org/title/cheshi...oclc/226280251

http://www.amazon.com/Cheshire-North.../dp/0406905967
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Old 14.02.2011, 11:47
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Re: Divorce

let me again repeat that there is no such thing as international law. international law is only fanciful thinking from legal academia and there's no point in wasting your time and effort on it. this is because law means nothing without jurisdiction and you will not see sovereign nations submit to the authority of some international tribunal, except in rare cases like war crimes. there are instances where some courts will recognize the judgments of foreign courts, but reciprocal arrangements can't always be counted on.

get two lawyers: one in the US (get a new one if he hasnt already told you that he's useless in terms of securing your property in switzerland) and another in switzerland
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Old 14.02.2011, 13:28
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Re: Divorce

It would be too much off topic to enter into a debate about the relevancy and jurisdiction regarding Private International Law. Recognised national and international legal treaties are currently in existence and acted upon by many countries, however these are too numerous to research and to list - and in the main, would be meaningless to anyone like me, with no legal background.

In the long term it may well be necessary for the OP to have legal representation in both countries, although this obviously comes at a price, and although the benefits of such is clear to see, the cost could make it possibly prohibitive.

By being able to have a point of reference, such as the book example I gave above, may help the OP forearm herself with certain facts that may be relevant in the pursuit of her claims/rights - immaterial if the information, is itself valid in any countries' courts.

I include 2 more links (from many available) that may or may not help to clarify the situation:

http://www.asil.org/pil1.cfm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_international_law

Finally, the OP asked for help and possible advice, which can encompass many contrasting factual or otherwise held views, and therefore she can work out for herself from these replies, what may be of some assistance or not, without having to filter through any that may be contradictory, verging on the argumentative - which is unnecessary, and of no help to anyone.
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Old 14.02.2011, 19:10
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Re: Divorce

Oh, dear.... international private law is a gaping hole...

I'll tell you my personal experience: wherever you file, that is the jurisdiction. YOu can file either where you live, or where he lives; so you might want to look up local laws and figure out where the law is more favorable, simpler or cheaper to obtain a divorce.

Now as per how to enforce it, yuk. What the judge will statuate will be upheld in the country where it is. The divorce, per se, will be recognized, but carrying out the specific terms will be up to you. In my case, the lawyer added in the language of the judgement that my ex has to support and provide any required paperwork necessary to the carrying out of the property change of hands... but even that, if my ex wanted to be a pain, he could be.

The only part that is internationally protected appears to be the child support; but even that, it may be expensive... I didn't have that problem.

My suggestion is, figure out how to agree among yourselves! that is truly the only recipe for international divorce.
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Old 14.02.2011, 21:46
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Re: Divorce

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Can a US judge decide on property in the US and Switzerland? If so, how is it enforced in Switzerland?
If the decision on the property is part of the final divorce settlement, then, assuming the US judge has jurisdiction, he or she can decide on property. Don’t assume, though, that it is so easy. The US court will first have to deal with the question of which law is applicable to the divorce and to the marital property. Theoretically, it would be possible for a US judge to apply Swiss marital property law. This depends on US/State private international law.

Enforcement of a foreign judgment in Switzerland is covered in the Swiss Private International Law code. Essentially, a foreign judgment concerning marital property (Art. 58) is recognized if the judgment was made in the courts of a country in which one of the parties is domiciled. Whether you are domiciled in the US will depend on US law, not Swiss law. A foreign divorce judgment is recognized under the same conditions. Basically, a divorce judgment from a US court shouldn’t have trouble being recognized in Switzerland.

Enforcement depends on the judgment being recognized. It can then be enforced through Swiss courts, but as another poster pointed out, you must go through the courts if he doesn't comply, which means more lawyers and more time.

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How can I get bank staements in Switzerland? I have called and was told since the accounts are now in his name only, I can't get copies. What can I do? Can the US judge order bank records from Siwtzerland?
For this you would need to go through the correct channels: international mutual legal assistance. Here is some information: http://www.elorge.admin.ch/elorge/e/index.html and http://www.bj.admin.ch/content/bj/en...vilsachen.html and finally here is an information pamphlet put out by the Swiss government for Swiss abroad (French, German, Italian): http://www.eda.admin.ch/etc/medialib...er_2009_DE.pdf .

Interim measures concerning property (moveable and immovable) in Switzerland can only be ordered by Swiss courts. If you require documents to serve as evidence in a US court, the request must go though official channels. This is naturally not the case for lawsuits filed in Swiss courts – this is where a lawyer in Switzerland could be useful.

Assuming you are filing in the US, you need a lawyer with experience in international private law (conflict of laws) because there are a lot of complicated property issues in your case. On the plus side, the US and Switzerland signed an agreement in 2004 that makes it easier to enforce maintenance issues (alimony).

Finally, I am really sorry that you are going through a divorce and even sorrier that it is turning nasty – divorce itself is difficult enough.
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