Outside of jurisdiction for spousal support


Dear Sir:

I am Jarvis Ortega, a Canadian residing in Toronto, Ontario. I have a situation where I need your advice.

My niece < Janice> married a Filipino who is a permanent resident of US in 2006. He is residing in North Carolina. He promised my niece sponsorship as a wife to the US. For this reason, my niece relied on his support (about $100.00 monthly) and did not continue her college studies in order to wait for the sponsorship. She intends to put in a new plan for her life once in the US>

However, nothing happened. My niece did not receive any communication from the US Embassy in the Philippines. We just found out later that her husband is now living with another woman in Charlotte.

Our questions are:

  1. Can she ask for support from her husband as she replans her future?
  2. How can she file a complaint for alimony in North Carolina considering that she is in the Philippines?
  3. Is her presence needed during court hearings or trial?
  4. What steps should she take in order to exercise her right?

I would appreciate your early response to my letter.

Thank you.



Your niece is entitled to seek spousal support from her husband based on the fact that she was a dependant spouse during the marriage, depending on the length of the marriage and the circumstances of their marriage.
Your niece will need to file a complaint in North Carolina, and will have to travel here for hearings related to her request for support.
Your niece should contact an attorney in North Carolina to discuss her particular situation before moving forward.


Dear Mr. Clarey,

I understand that my niece needs to be present for her complaint with a North Carolina Court. But is it possible for her to file a complaint using a representative? Travelling back and forth to the US is not only very difficult but also costly. Besides US Visa is hard to get in the Philippines.

Can you advice us how to proceed so that we may be able to decide accordingly?



Your niece can retain an attorney who can file the documents on her behalf, but she will need to be present for court hearings.


Is a Philippine Court spousal support Order effective in NC?

Can we take this avenue?