Do I need to be a resident of Guam to get a divorce?
Recent changes to Guam law allow an uncontested divorce where one of the parties "resides" in Guam for seven days before the filing of the divorce complaint. The legislative history, including the floor debate on this provision, make it clear, that the residency requirement can be met by a seven day stay in Guam. The purpose of this requirement was to promote tourism by requiring at least one party to an uncontested divorce to come to Guam.
What if one or both of us are not U.S. Citizens?
There is no requirement under Guam law that either party be a U.S. Citizen.
How can I obtain a "consent to jurisdiction" form?
In most instances, the consent form is customized to match the divorce petition. However, many people have asked if it is possible to obtain a consent form that their spouse could either review or sign before the petition is prepared. This question is usually asked by a person who wants a divorce but is not sure whether their spouse will consent. It also comes up where the consenting spouse wants the document reviewed by an attorney before agreeing to a Guam divorce. If you would like a sample consent for, please contact our office.
What are the grounds for a Guam divorce?
Most divorces on Guam are granted on the grounds of “irreconcilable differences." As a practical matter, this is a “no fault” divorce. The court will grant a divorce, whenever either party feels that the marriage should end.
May I have property issues and child custody and support decided?
Yes. It is possible for a couple to address such matters in a settlement agreement, and have that agreement approved by the court. Often times we will prepare a comprehensive marital settlement agreement for no extra charge. If the issues are complicated there may be additional fees of between $100.00 and $400.00.
Unless the marriage was of very short duration with no children, or the parties have been separated for a very long time, it is advisable to have an agreement. Otherwise, you may find yourself in some court fighting over property or custody matters long after you thought your divorce was finished.
What if my spouse and I both want a divorce right away, but we cannot come to an agreement about dividing up our property?
The court, at the request of the parties, may grant a divorce decree that ends the marriage, but does not address the property issues. This approach allows the parties to remarry, if they so desire, and to work out the property issues at a later time, and perhaps, in a different court. The effect of ending the marriage without a property settlement will usually be determined by the laws of the place where the property is located or the couple resides.
How much does it cost?
The total cost for a SRD is $1500.00 or two equal payments of $750.00. We will often include a comprehensive marital settlement agreement at no extra costs. There may be some additional charges, if you would like documents sent out by Fed Ex or other courier service. We can also help arrange economical hotel-car packages for your stay.
Guam offers every level of Hotel Accommodations. Five star accommodations are also available if you wish to take full advantage of Guam many tourist offerings.
What kind of payment do you accept?
Payment may be made by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express), PayPal, wire transfer, Western Union, money order.
Where can I find a U.S. Notary?
The party coming to Guam can have their documents notarized in our office. The party not coming to Guam will need to have their documents notarized elsewhere. Within the United States, notary publics can be found in courts, law offices, insurance agencies, and many other places. Outside the United States, the divorce petition and the consent form may be notarized by an official in a U.S. Embassy or consulate office, or other U.S. Government Agency. Acceptable notaries can often be found on U.S. military installations abroad. Sometimes, an acceptable notary may be found in the offices of a U.S. Corporation abroad.
Will U.S. Embassies Notarize Documents for Non-U.S. Citizens?
Yes. 22 C.F.R. 92.4(b) provides that these services may be performed for any person regardless of nationality so long as the document in connection with which the notarial/authentication service is required is for use within the jurisdiction of the United States
Will my divorce be recognized by U.S. States?
Guam is an American Jurisdiction. By Act of Congress, (28 U.S.C.A. § 1738) judicial proceedings of the courts of Guam must be given full faith and credit by other U.S. States. This means that Guam court decisions stand on an equal footing with those of State Courts. So long as the decision is valid under Guam law, it must be accepted by other States.
Further, Guam Short Residency Divorces require the consent of both parties. Normally, no state court will allow a party to challenge a divorce issued by another court, where the party consented to the divorce.
What if my spouse will not consent to the divorce or I cannot contact her?
Guam laws state that you may still obtain a Divorce through the Guam courts if you or your spouse have a connection with Guam. To see the types of connections that are acceptable for Guam to take jurisdiction of a contested divorce, click here.