|What is the fast divorce
Dominican fast divorces, known under the legislation as “special,” are
painless and hassle free. They are available to foreigners and Dominicans
married to foreigners, as well as Dominican citizens not resident in the
DR and take only one day.
For the divorce to be legal, at least one of the spouses needs to come
down to the Dominican Republic to appear before the Court. There is no
such thing as a “mail-order” divorce in which neither spouse has to
appear in court. “Unilateral” divorces are also invalid since both
spouses must agree to the divorce.
The travelling spouse should arrive the day before the hearing in Court in
order to hand over the documentation to his/her attorney for registration
and to be at court early in the morning. He/she may depart the next day in
the afternoon. That is, you can be divorced in less than 24 hours.
The divorce ruling, however, has to be typed up by the Court, recorded at
the Registry, and authenticated at the Consulate or Embassy of the country
of origin of the spouses. This takes approximately 10-15 business days,
after which the file is sent by courier to the clients.
How long does it
The actual hearing usually takes less than five minutes. Nevertheless,
those divorcing should set aside a morning, from an early morning meeting
with the lawyer to the completion of the procedure before the 12 noon
court closing time.
The final decree of divorce is granted immediately upon plaintiff's
appearance in court. The plaintiff is required to be in Santo Domingo only
long enough for one appearance in court. Airline schedules do not permit a
client to arrive and depart the same day. Court hearings are held everyday
Do I have to travel to
Santo Domingo for the divorce, or can it take place in another Dominican
city? I’m thinking of flying in to La Romana, Puerto Plata or Punta Cana
for a vacation also.
At least one of the spouses needs to travel to Santo Domingo. Although the
procedure is available in other cities only courts in Santo Domingo have
the mechanism in place to issue the divorce decree without delay.
On what grounds are
Dominican special divorces granted?
Only by mutual consent. No culpability or fault need be alleged. An
English translation of the actual special divorce law is available at here
Can you help me look up
a divorce decree, birth certificate or marriage certificate?
That is extremely difficult to do. Divorces, marriages and births are
recorded in municipal offices called "Oficialías de Estado
Civil". There is at least one office per municipality.
Cities have many "Oficialías". A divorce decree granted by a
Santo Domingo Court will be recorded in one of the Santo Domingo "Oficialías".
Although the "Oficialías" report all records to a central
office ("Junta Central Electoral") they are not organized there
in any way that makes it easy or even feasible to find a particular
record. Things would be different if you knew which court granted the
divorce, marriage or the birth was registered and when.
Regarding births, the good news is that the government is working so that
hospitals may be interconnected with the computer systems of the JCE. A
2006 completion date for the computerizing of birth certificates, divorce
degrees and marriage certificates was given in July 2001.
How soon can a Dominican
woman remarry after a divorce?
Art. 35 of Divorce Law 1306-bis of 1938 establishes that a Dominican woman
needs to wait ten months after her divorce is final. The only exception is
when she is remarrying her previous husband.
This archaic provision comes from the article 228 in the French Napoleonic
Code of 1804, a time when pregnancy tests did not exist and therefore
confusion could result regarding the paternity of any child born soon
after the new marriage. It is stupid and outdated, etc. but,
unfortunately, it’s the law.
How soon can a person
remarry after getting a one-day divorce in the DR?
The foreign person needs to wait for the divorce decree to be registered
at the “Oficialía” before remarrying. The divorce is not final until
it’s registered. To marry before registration of the divorce decree may
invalidate the marriage if challenged in the future.
Will my one-day divorce
be valid in the US or Canada?
For the judgment to be valid abroad, it needs to be certified in the
Office of the Attorney General of the Dominican Republic as well as in the
Foreign Relations Ministry and the embassy or consulate of the country
where the divorce is to be valid. The authentication of the final decree
of divorce, with translations by an official government translator, is
part of the services provided by law firm for the established fee.
Prior to getting divorced in the Dominican Republic, Canadian citizens
should check with a local solicitor or notary (in Quebec) to determine
whether the divorce will be recognized.
In the case of US residents, a similar check will have to made regarding
the laws of your own state. Divorce in the US is governed by state law
(which may vary). That said, many states have recognized foreign divorces
after this has been disputed (New York, Texas, Tennessee, Connecticut and
Maryland, included). The states of California, Louisiana, Massachusetts,
Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio,
Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Wisconsin will regard
Dominican divorces as invalid based on existing statutes or controlling
What about children’s
right to support, marriage settlements?
Matters other than divorcing the parties should be worked out prior to
carrying out the Dominican divorce. Complicated issues regarding marriage
settlements should be handled first within your own jurisdiction.
Dominican one-day divorces are by mutual consent only.
The US Government web site provides information on the legality of foreign