No one ever plans to get a divorce, but sometimes it’s the best option for both people involved. If you and your spouse decide that a divorce is the best solution, you’ll need to figure out where to file for divorce. In most cases, you’ll file in the state where you currently reside. But what if you live in one part of the country and your spouse lives in another?
Can you still file for divorce in your home state, or do you have to file in your spouse’s state? Here’s what you need to know about filing for divorce in another state.
What is the residency requirement for filing for divorce in a particular state?
In order to file for divorce in a particular state, you or your spouse must have resided in that state for a certain period of time. This is known as the residency requirement. The residency requirement varies from state to state but is usually either six months or one year. For example, California has a six-month residency requirement and also has venue rules that require you to file in the county where either spouse resides.
If you don’t meet the residency requirements for your home state, you may be able to file for divorce in your spouse’s state. However, it’s important to check that state’s residency requirements as well before proceeding. Even then, you should still be able to ask for legal separation or nullity of marriage.
A competent lawyer will be familiar with the residency requirements of different states and can advise you on whether or not you meet the requirements.
How can you determine which state has jurisdiction over your divorce case?
Before you go ahead and file for divorce in another state, you’ll first need to determine which state has jurisdiction over your divorce case. In order for a court to have jurisdiction over a divorce case, at least one of the spouses must reside in the state where the divorce is being filed.
The state where the divorce is filed is known as the “forum state.” The forum state will usually be the state where either you or your spouse reside. However, there are some circumstances in which another state may have jurisdiction over your divorce case.
For example, if you and your spouse live in different states and you file for divorce in the state where you reside, your spouse may be able to have the case transferred to their state. Your spouse would be the “domiciliary” spouse, meaning they are the one who resides in the state where the divorce is being filed.
What are some of the factors that a court will consider?
When deciding whether to grant a divorce in another state, courts will usually consider the following factors:
The location of the children
If the married couple has children, the court will need to determine which state would be the best place for the children to reside. The court will consider the child’s relationship with each parent, the child’s school and community ties, and each parent’s ability to provide a stable home environment for the child.
In most cases, the court will grant the divorce in the state where the children currently reside. However, if one parent moves to another state intending to get a divorce, the court may still grant the divorce in that state.
The convenience of the parties
The court will also consider the convenience of the parties when deciding whether to grant a divorce in another state. This includes factors such as the location of each spouse’s jobs, family, and friends. The court may also consider which state would be more convenient for the parties to attend court hearings and meetings with their attorneys.
The location of the marital property
In many instances, married couples move in together when they first get married. The state where said property is located will often be where the couple decides to divorce. If the marital property is located in another state, the court may still grant the divorce in that state if it would be more convenient for the parties.
There are other factors that the court may consider when deciding whether to grant a divorce in another state. These include the length of time the couple has been married, the presence of any domestic violence, and whether either party has filed for bankruptcy.
What are the consequences of filing for divorce in another state?
You should be aware of a few consequences before filing for divorce in another state. First, you may have to travel back and forth to attend court hearings and meetings with your attorney. This can be costly and time-consuming, especially if you live across the country from the state where you’re filing for divorce.
Another consequence of filing for divorce in another state is that enforcing child custody and visitation orders can be more difficult. Technically speaking, the court that issued the order would have no jurisdiction over the child or the other parent if they live in another state.
If you have a child custody or visitation order that you need to enforce, you must file a separate action in the state where the child or other parent lives. This can be a complicated and costly process.
Finally, filing for divorce in another state can impact your finances. If you own property in the state where you’re filing for divorce, the court may divide the property between you and your spouse.
How can you ensure that your divorce proceeding is handled efficiently and effectively?
If you’re considering filing for divorce in another state, it’s important to consult with an experienced family law attorney. An attorney can help you understand the laws of your state and the consequences of filing for divorce in another state. They can also help you navigate the process and ensure that your rights are protected.
At Vanden Heuvel & Dineen, our experienced family law attorneys can help you with all aspects of your divorce, including property division, child custody, and support. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.