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Recognition of Foreign Divorce Decrees in Costa Rica: A Comprehensive Guide

by rpetersen

If you have concluded a divorce proceeding in a country other than Costa Rica and you now need to have that divorce decree recognized within Costa Rica you will need to follow a judgment recognition process to ensure that your foreign divorce is recognized in Costa Rica.

The Legal Framework for Recognition of Foreign Divorce Decrees

In Costa Rica, a foreign divorce decree must go through a formal process of recognition (or “exequatur”) before it is considered valid. This process is governed by the Second Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice, which is responsible for determining whether foreign judgments, including divorce decrees, comply with Costa Rican legal standards and public order.

Step 1: Submitting Your Application

The recognition process begins with submitting an application to the Second Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice. It’s important to note that you must have legal representation, as the application process requires the expertise of a lawyer who is familiar with Costa Rican legal procedures.

Step 2: Preparing Your Documentation

Your application must include a detailed narrative of the facts and the the legal basis for your petition, along with the evidence to substantiate it. Be sure to provide the following:

An authentic copy of your foreign divorce decree, duly apostilled or legalized.

Any related agreements, such as mediation agreements, that must also be authenticated.

Official translations of all documents not originally in Spanish.

Step 3: The Review Process

Upon receiving your application, the Court conducts an initial review to ensure all formal requirements are met. This is followed by a comprehensive analysis to assess the compatibility of the foreign decree with Costa Rican law and legal procedure.

Step 4: The Final Decision

A final judgment is issued by the Court, which is not subject to appeal. If your application is successful, your foreign divorce decree will be recognized in Costa Rica, granting it the same legal effect as a decree issued within the country.

The Importance of Legal Guidance

This process can be complex and you will need an Attorney to process this for you, ensuring that your application is correctly prepared and submitted, and representing your interests before the Supreme Court.


In order to process the recognition of a foreign divorce decree in Costa Rica requires expertise in the judgment recognition process. By adhering to the detailed steps presented in this guide and leveraging the expertise of a seasoned attorney, you can smoothly steer through the recognition process. This ensures your foreign divorce decree will be recognized and registered in Costa Rica

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