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or 
671-477-7061

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

1.  Short Residency Divorces (SRD) FAQs

2.  General questions re Divorce

3.  Military Divorce FAQs

4.  About Visiting Guam

 

 

Non Resident Divorces Frequently Asked 
Questions (FAQs)

Do I need to be a resident of Guam to get a divorce?

What if one or both of us are not U.S. citizens?

How can I obtain a "consent to jurisdiction" form?

What are the grounds for a Guam divorce?

May I have property issues and child custody and support decided?

What if my spouse and I both want a divorce right away, but we cannot come to an agreement about dividing up our property?

How much does it cost?

What kind of payment do you accept?

What is the process?

Where can I find a U.S. Notary?

Will U.S. Embassies Notarize Documents for Non-U.S. Citizens.

How long does it take?

Will my Divorce be recognized by U.S. States?

What if my spouse will not consent to the divorce?

I read on foreigndivorce.com that any divorce granted in Guam where the parties do not meet a 90 day residency requirement is invalid. Is that true?

 


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.

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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. 

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. We can arrange a hotel-car package for as low as $750 for your seven day stay. Five star accommodations are also available if you wish to take full advantage of Guam many tourist offerings.

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What kind of payment do you accept?

Payment may be made by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express), wire transfer, Western Union, money order, mone-gram or certified check. For more on the costs and how payment may be made, click here.

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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. For information about Notary Services at Selected U.S. Embassies, click here.

 

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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

 

How long does it take?

The whole process can be completed in abut two weeks, including the seven day stay in Guam.

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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.

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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.

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General Questions Regarding Divorce and Family Law.

Do I need to live or reside in Guam in order to obtain a divorce here? 

What if I am in the military and stationed in Guam.

Can I get a divorce if my spouse does not agree to it?

My spouse filed for divorce. What happens if I don't sign the papers?

Are there other grounds for divorce?

When should someone file for divorce on grounds other than irreconcilable differences?

What is community property? What is separate property?

How does the court decide how to divide the property?

What about retirement income?

Can the divorce court divide the parties' debts?

What is a Marital Separation or Settlement Agreement?

Why is a Marital separation agreement important?

What is the difference between a contested or uncontested divorce?

Do the courts review the fairness of a Marital Property Settlement Agreement?

How does a court decide who should have custody of minor children.

How do I get started?

 

Do I need to live or reside in Guam in order to obtain a divorce here? 

If the Divorce is contested, then one of the parties must have resided in Guam for at least 90 days before the filing of the complaint for dissolution (divorce).

However, if both parties  consent in writing to the  jurisdiction of the court, the court may grant a  dissolution  if one of the parties resides in Guam for 7 days immediately before filing.

All consents  must be acknowledged or verified before a Notary Public or other officer authorized to administer oaths within the United States if signed in the United States, acknowledged or verified before a consular officer of the United States or other United States official authorized to take oaths if signed outside the United States, or if signed outside of the United States, have a notarized acknowledgement or verification by a foreign notary which is authenticated by a United States consular officer.

If your spouse will not consent, 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.

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What if I am in the military and stationed in Guam.

A person is deemed a resident if one of the parties has been assigned with the U.S. Military to a unit on Guam or a ship home-ported in Guam for at least ninety (90) days immediately preceding the filing of a complaint for divorce or dissolution of marriage or if one of the parties is physically present in Guam for a least ninety (90) days immediately preceding the filing of a complaint for divorce or dissolution of marriage

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Can I get a divorce if my spouse does not agree to it?

Yes. The Guam Code provides for a divorce on the grounds of Irreconcilable Differences. Irreconcilable differences are those grounds which are determined by the Court to be substantial reasons for not continuing the marriage and which make it appear that the marriage should be dissolved. Generally, if one party is dissatisfied with the marriage,  there are irreconcilable differences.

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My spouse filed for divorce. What happens if I don't sign the papers?

By not signing the paperwork you may be able to delay the process for a while, but ultimately, the judge will sign the papers and your spouse will be granted the divorce by default.

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Are there other grounds for divorce?

Beside irreconcilable differences, , the other grounds for divorce under the Guam Code

            (a) Adultery.

            (b) Extreme cruelty.

            (c) Willful desertion.

            (d) Willful neglect.

            (e) Habitual intemperance.

            (f) Conviction of Felony.

            (g) irreconcilable differences.

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When should someone file for divorce on grounds other than irreconcilable differences?

The Guam Code suggests that a judge  may have authority to award a more generous property settlement  to a party whose spouse is guilty of adultery or extreme cruelty. 

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What is community property? What is separate property?

A spouse's separate property consists of the property owned or claimed by the party before marriage, acquired by the spouse during marriage by gift, devise, or descent, and some recoveries for personal injuries. 

Community property is simply property acquired by either party during the marriage, except separate property. The income from separate property is community property, for instance the dividends on separate common stocks.

Property owned by a married person is presumed to be community property until it is established as separate property. 

Assets acquired before marriage are sole and separate, but you must not co-mingle your sole and separate assets with your spouse's assets, or you run the risk of those assets being characterized as community property. In particular, if you have put your spouse's name on your residence, purchased with your sole and separate funds, this may cause the residence to be characterized as a community asset, even if you purchased it with your sole and separate property.

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How does the court decide how to divide the property?

The Guam Code provide: "If the decree be rendered on any other ground than that of adultery or extreme cruelty, the community property shall be equally divided between the parties." This is often easier said than done. The property aspects of some divorces are complicated, and must be studied on a case by case basis.

Generally, the law requires that the community estate be divided equally if there is no written agreement to the contrary. This means that from the total fair market value of the community assets, the joint obligations of the parties are subtracted, yielding the net community estate. Unless agreed otherwise, each spouse must receive ˝ of the net community estate.

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What about retirement income?

Generally, retirement earned during marriage is community property. Any portion of the retirement earned before marriage is the separate property of the person who earned the benefit.

There are many kinds of retirement or deferred compensation plans. They work differently in each case must be carefully studied.

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Can the divorce court divide the parties' debts?

Yes and no. The court may, and often does, as part of the property division, order one party or the other to pay specific debts. If the husband is ordered to pay a debt, and doesn't, and the wife has to pay, she can sue the ex-husband and obtain a judgment against him for what she had to pay.

However, normally the court's order will not effect the rights of the creditor. If the debt was a joint debt during the marriage, a creditor may continue to hold both parties liable for the debt, and collect from either. The creditor was not a party to the divorce, and is not bound by the divorce decree.

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What is a Marital Separation or Settlement Agreement?

A marital separation agreement, also known as a property settlement agreement, is a written contract dividing your property, spelling out your rights, and settling problems such as alimony and custody. A marital separation agreement may be drawn before or after you have filed for divorce — even while you and your spouse are still living together.

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Why is a Marital separation agreement important?

If you have no marital property, no joint debts, and no children, you probably don't need a marital separation agreement to get a no-fault divorce. However, if you want to provide for the future governance of your relationship, as well as provide additional evidence to the court about the day that you separated, you should have a Marital Separation Agreement. An agreement leaves no doubt about the details of the ending of your marriage relationship. It is better to have a clearly written agreement, rather than rely on verbal understandings.

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What is the difference between a contested or uncontested divorce?

Divorces are either contested or uncontested. Contested divorces are those in which the respondent disputes any issue in the case - the divorce itself, the property division, child custody, alimony, etc. Uncontested divorces fall into two categories - (1) Consent Divorces - the parties agree on all major issues; and (2) Default causes - where the respondent fails to appear to contest the divorce or any issue in it, either because he or she chooses not to oppose it, or because he or she cannot be located.  By entering into a Marital Separation Agreement you make your divorce an uncontested divorce.

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Do the courts review the fairness of a Marital Property Settlement Agreement?

In an uncontested divorce, the court nearly always approves the agreement of the parties if it is generally fair and the court is convinced that the agreement was entered into by both spouses without fraud or coercion. 

In negotiating your agreement, you should be guided by how a court is likely to divide your property, award custody and child support, and deal with other issues.

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How does a court decide who should have custody of minor children?

By statute the court is required to consider the best interest of the child in awarding custody. Where a child is of sufficient age and capacity to reason, so as to form an intelligent preference, the child's wishes as to custody will be considered. 

Further, it is legislative policy that children spend as much time with each of their parents as possible, when the parents are not living together. Therefore, in determining visitation of minor children on Guam with non-custodial parents living on Guam, the court must, to the greatest degree possible, order visitation for minor children with non-custodial parents such that the children spend more or less equal amounts of time with the custodial parent and the non-custodial parent during non-working, non-sleeping, non-school time, subject to the following:

            (1) The proposed visitation is not found by the court to be injurious to the welfare of the child;

            (2) The non-custodial parent is willing to accept such visitation;

            (3) The non-custodial parent is not found by the Court to be an unfit person to have such visitation;

            (4) The visitation is not found by the Court to interfere with the child's schooling;

Unless the Court finds that it is not in the best interests of the child, non-custodial parents or the children's grandparents must be given consideration in providing childcare for their minor children or grandchildren, when visitation orders are prepared;

In determining visitation rights, the court must also take into account the employment of each parent and the time the child spends in school or in extracurricular activities.

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How do I get started?

The first step is to contact our office at 671-477-7061 or 7062.  From the U.S. Mainland call toll free 1-866-472-1540. You will be asked questions about your marriage, property and children. First  we will help you determine whether you may obtain an uncontested divorce, or whether we will need to prepare a petition for divorce and serve it on your spouse. Based on the information, we will advise you regarding the likely cost of the divorce.

If it will be an uncontested divorce, we will likely charge a flat fee. The cost will depend on whether there are issues of child custody, support or property, that need to be addressed in a settlement agreement.

We represent clients in contested cases on an hourly fee basis. We require an advance fee (which may be nonrefundable in whole or in part) and you will receive regular billings throughout the case, showing the status of your account. Your final bill cannot be predicted exactly, because it depends in part upon how your spouse, and your spouse's attorney, handle the defense of the case. However, we can give you a reasonable estimate. Every  effort will be made to conserve attorney's fees and costs on your behalf.

At the start of representation, a decision will be made as to whether to seek temporary orders in your case, which are also sometimes called pendente lite orders. If you need temporary spousal maintenance, temporary child support, temporary possession of your residence, or temporary use of community funds, it may be necessary to seek these orders. Generally, it will also add attorney's fees to your case and, therefore, if these issues can be worked out without formal proceedings, it may be in your best interests. We will discuss with you, at an appropriate time, whether seeking temporary order(s) is in your best interests.

If you have children, child support should  be paid from the date of the filing of the petition. We can obtain a temporary child support order for you through temporary orders, or the judge can order retroactively, from the date of the petition, at the final hearing. Child support, in Guam, is determined according to written guidelines, and we will need information about your income and the income of your spouse to assist us in the calculation of appropriate child support.

Guam is a community property state. Assets acquired during marriage, with either your earnings, or your spouse's earnings, are community assets. Assets acquired before marriage are sole and separate, but you must not co-mingle your sole and separate assets with your spouse's assets, or you run the risk of those assets being characterized as community property. In particular, if you have put your spouse's name on your residence, purchased with your sole and separate funds, this may cause the residence to be characterized as a community asset, even if you purchased it with your sole and separate property.

The court has a mediation center, which attempts to assist divorcing spouses in resolving their divorce case out of court, through informal negotiations. The mediation center does not force you to settle your case, but attempts to assist you, through negotiations, in resolving your case informally. In appropriate cases, we encourage clients to use this mediation. In other cases, only an assertive stance in court will ensure justice.

Please feel free to contact us toll free at 1-671-477-7061 or 7062 or by e-mail.

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Military Divorce FAQs

Below is some sound advice gathered from a variety of JAG and military sites.

Can I get a divorce through the military?

Can I ask a JAG represent me during my divorce?

Should I hire a civilian attorney?

What if my spouse and I cannot agree on the terms of the divorce?

How much will a divorce cost me?

Is there anything I can do to save money?

Do I have to give my spouse any money while we are separated?

What about once we're divorced?

Can my wife and kids keep their I.D. cards?

What if my spouse won't give me a divorce?

What is a Separation Agreement?

 

 

Can I get a divorce through the military?

No, the military court system only has military justice (criminal) power. It cannot grant you a divorce.

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Can I ask a JAG represent me during my divorce?

No. A JAG cannot represent you in civilian court, nor can he or she draw up legal documents for you. What the JAG can do is advise you. They can look over legal paperwork you may have and help you to understand what is going on. Additionally, they can notarize any documents you may need notarized.

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Should I hire a civilian attorney?

This is your decision. However, you should consider hiring an attorney, even if you think your spouse and you can (and will) agree on all aspects of the settlement - if only to smooth your way in court. It is possible to have just one party represented by a lawyer. Generally, an attorney will represent only the husband or the wife in the divorce lawsuit, as the party's interests may conflict. For example, one may not believe he or she is responsible for debts of the marriage, or both may want custody of any children. In any event, an attorney will draw up paperwork to start the divorce and file it with the court. Copies will be sent to the unrepresented spouse. Both spouses should consider having a JAG review the documents. A JAG may highlight entitlements to military benefits that a civilian attorney may not have considered. Once reviewed, if the spouse agrees with the terms set out in the divorce papers, they can be signed and sent back to the other spouse's attorney. The civilian attorney may then file the paper work with the divorce court.

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What if my spouse and I cannot agree on the terms of the divorce?

You should consider having a civilian attorney represent each of you. Remember, your spouse's attorney will have only his or her client's best interests at heart -- not yours. If you want someone to represent your interests, you will need an attorney who is working for you.

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How much will a divorce cost me?

See our cost page. by clicking here.

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Is there anything I can do to save money?

Yes. You and your spouse can agree to some or all the terms of the divorce - such as separating your property, expenses of alimony, child custody, etc. - and reduce your agreement to writing. Both of you should sign this agreement. This document is not a legal property settlement but is one less thing you will have to pay a lawyer to do. The court, however, has the power to independently decide matters dealing with child custody and support.

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Do I have to give my spouse any money while we are separated?

Yes. The Military requires that you give your family reasonable support. There is no set amount of money to define "reasonable" but you should use your common sense. If you have a wife and two kids, twenty-five dollars a month is not reasonable. If you have questions, discuss the matter with your commander or first sergeant.

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What about once we're divorced?

Alimony and Child Support amounts are set by the court. The Military will expect you to pay whatever the court orders you to pay. Since Overseas Divorces are based on the consent, child support will usually be set by agreement of the parties, based on "child support guidelines." This amount will be incorporated into the marriage settlement agreement and the divorce decree.

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Can my wife and kids keep their I.D. cards?

Until your divorce is final, your wife and children are entitled to retain their ID cards. After the divorce, your spouse may no longer be entitled to an ID card (unless they are also a military member or otherwise entitled). Your children will remain military dependents as long as you remain in the military or until they reach an age where they no longer qualify as dependents.

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What if my spouse won't give me a divorce?

The judge is the person who grants a divorce, not your spouse. However, if you are not a resident of Guam, you cannot get a divorce in Guam, unless your spouse consents. 

In  all but a few jurisdictions, any party can obtain a divorce, even if the other party does not want it. Once you have filed the divorce petition at the courthouse, your attorney will serve a copy of the summons and petition on your spouse according to the state's procedural rules or according to the Hague Convention on International Service of Process if your spouse is stationed overseas. If no answer is filed, within a specified period after service, you will probably be granted a divorce by default. If your spouse contests the divorce action by filing an answer denying one or more of the allegations in your complaint, a hearing will be set during which the two of you can testify and the judge will decide what the truth is.

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What is a Separation Agreement?

In the Military, legal officers often advice the parties to enter into a separation agreement before they have started any divorce proceedings. 

A separation agreement is an agreement between two spouses, which formalizes their decision to begin living apart. It typically is a preliminary step towards obtaining a divorce, but it is not required to have one (nor does a separation agreement automatically lead to divorce). It can cover all the aspects, which are addressed in divorce decrees, including child support, custody and visitation, property division, spousal support, and other issues discussed above. Often, a separation agreement will simply be incorporated into the divorce decree, simplifying the divorce process. Separation agreements can be prepared by a private attorney or by the two spouses themselves. Separation agreements are often available at Military Legal Assistance Offices.

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Frequently Asked Questions
About Visiting Guam

Where the Heck is Guam?

2.  What airlines service Guam?

3.  Do I need a passport to come to Guam?

4.  What kind of Hotels are in Guam?

5.  What am I going to do in Guam for Seven Days?

 

1. Where the Heck is Guam?

Guam, the largest and southernmost island of the Mariana archipelago, is the westernmost possession of the United States, and has been since 1898. The island is approximately:

6,000 miles west of San Francisco; 

3,700 miles west-southwest of Honolulu; 

1,500 miles southeast of Tokyo; 

2,100 miles southeast of Hong Kong;

1,500 miles east of Manila; and

3,100 miles northwest of Sydney.

2.  What airlines service Guam?

Presently, the following Airlines Service Guam:

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.  Do I need a passport to come to Guam?

No. Guam is part of the United States, and US citizens do not need a passport to enter Guam.

If you travel from the U.S. mainland, directly to Guam, you do not need a passport. Continental has flights that reach Guam via Hawaii. If you come from or go through a foreign country, such as Japan, to reach Guam, you will need a passport.

4.  What kind of Hotels are in Guam?

Guam is home to every type of Hotel. You can make your stay as economical or as luxurious as you want. Budget hotels can be found for as cheap as $35 per night. There is no upper limit. 

 

GUAM HOTELS

 

Tumon Bay Beach Front Hotels

The following hotels are located directly on the beach on Guam's Tumon Bay. These are international class hotels with all the amenities, including water parks, five-star restaurants, and first class service. Prices vary greatly depending on the level of accommodations you seek, and the season of the year.

hotel nikko guam Heart warming hotel, Nikko Hotel

Tumon Bay Tourist District Hotels

The following hotels are located in Guam's tourist district, within a few minutes walk of the beach. Great choices if you want to make your stay a vacation, and enjoy Guam's night-life. Prices vary here also, but expect to pay $100 to $150 per night.

Agana Bay Tourist District Hotels

On a beach on a beautiful bay, but one or two miles outside the main tourist district.

Economy Hotels

The following hotels are outside of the main tourist district, but provide clean comfortable accommodations at an affordable rate.

In a Class by Itself

The following hotels are outside of the main tourist district, but provide clean comfortable accommodations at an affordable rate.

 

 

5.  What am I going to do in Guam for Seven Days?

"Guam offers an amazing variety of leisure activities as well as historical and cultural attractions. In addition to its beaches, duty free shopping, and varied nightlife, Guam boasts seven world-class golf courses, some of the best scuba diving and snorkeling in the world, underwater parks and submarine tours, sunset dinner cruises, jet skiing, wind surfing, kayaking, parasailing, sky diving, and deep-sea fishing." www.guam-online.com .

Here are some other links that will help you plan your free time in Guam.

GUAM VISITOR'S BUREAU

R&C TOURS GUAM, INC.

 

Please Review our PRIVACY POLICY before contacting us or providing us with any information.

GUARANTEE. In an uncontested divorce, if you fully follow our instructions, and we cannot obtain a divorce for you, we will refund the money you have paid. 

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Please Review our PRIVACY POLICY  before contacting us or providing us with any information.