Where Do I File For Divorce If We Live in Different States
Securing a divorce is complicated for spouses who do not reside in the same state. If one spouse moved to another state after the couple separated, or where couples have lived in different states for several years, the state where the divorce is filed becomes an issue. Here are some of the factors that will help you determine where to file a divorce in such situations.
You should file for a divorce in the state where you or your spouse satisfies the residency requirements. Every state has different requirements for the duration of time a spouse must have resided there before they can pursue a divorce in the state. Some states further have requirements for how long a spouse has resided in the county.
To show that you meet the residency requirements of a particular state, you need to prove that you or your spouse satisfies all the residency terms and conditions for filing a divorce. The court may require a voter registration card, lease, a driver’s license, and similar documentation to prove that the residency conditions have been met. Consult a lawyer on the residency requirements in your state to determine whether it is possible to file a divorce there.
The Divorce Laws
The place where you choose to file for a divorce should have divorce laws that are sympathetic to your circumstances. Different states treat issues such as child support, spousal support, child custody, and property division differently. In some states, a child is granted support beyond adulthood. In other states, marital property is treated like community property and is automatically divided in half, while in other states; an equitable distribution method is used. In such states, property is divided in an equitable and fair manner as opposed to down the middle.
All states allow some kind of no fault divorce. In no fault divorce states, couples can separate because of irreconcilable differences. In such cases, there is no need to prove that your spouse’s misconduct led to the divorce. However, in some states, fault is required when filing for a divorce. Some of the reasons for a fault divorce include abandonment, incarceration, or adultery. In these states, your spouse’s fault may entitle you to a larger portion of marital property or alimony payments.
Determine whether the state where you plan to file for divorce has laws that work in your favor. For example, if the state where your spouse resides in has more favorable laws regarding child support, custody, and alimony, it may be better to file for divorce there than in the state where you are living.
The court in the state you are planning to file for divorce may lack jurisdiction over your spouse but be able to grant you a divorce. For example, the court may lack jurisdiction over the other spouse if they have not had any significant contact with the state. Additionally, the court cannot decide on property that is located in another state. The court may also not have the authority to decide on child custody.
When deciding on where to file for divorce, you need to be clear on the court’s jurisdiction. It is preferable to pursue a divorce in a state where the court has jurisdiction over your spouse, on division of property, and on deciding child custody.
The Take Away
The process of filing for divorce where spouses live in different states can be a complicated affair. It is important for you to understand the residency requirements, divorce laws, and jurisdictional issues of the state where you are planning to file for a divorce. With a lawyer by your side, you will have better clarity on the laws in different states and on how to approach your divorce.