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How to File for Divorce When a Spouse is Out of State

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When a couple separates, they usually want to put some space between each other. Occasionally, this will mean spouses actually live in a different state. When you and your spouse reside in different states and want to get divorced, you are able to do so. Nevertheless, you should fulfill the residency requirements of the state in which you are filing for divorce. When your spouse filed for divorce before you in a different state, that filing and the laws in that state typically control the proceedings.

1. Find out state residency requirements in the state in which you are thinking filing for divorce.

When you want to get divorced, first determine whether one or both of you fulfill the residency provisions of the state in which you wish to file for divorce. These requirements differ from state to state. In many states, at least one of you is required have been a resident for at a minimum of 6 months, although there are a couple of states that have shorter or longer residency provisions.

A couple of states don’t have mandatory minimum residency time periods, rather requiring only that an individual filing for divorce live in that state when filing the primary petition. However, other states implement stringent residency requirements of up to 1 year.

2. Comprehend the relationship between filing and jurisdiction.

The state in which either of you initially files for divorce usually controls the proceedings. Consequently, when you and your spouse presently reside in different states and each of you files for divorce in your corresponding states, the state in which the divorce was initially filed is going to likely have authority over the case.

This is usually an inconvenience for out-of-state spouses, that might have to hire an attorney in a different state and go to that state for divorce-associated court proceedings.

3. Establish which state’s laws govern important choices in your divorce.

In a lot of cases, the state in which either spouse is filing for divorce initially has authority over significant choices in your divorce, including the splitting of the couple’s assets and debts and if alimony is suitable.

Decisions Concerning Asset and Liability Splitting

These decisions can affect the parties’ financial circumstances following the divorce, as different states offer for different handling of property and debts. In many states, essentially all property owned by the spouses or by each of the spouses is marital property, subject to a fifty-fifty split. Other states implement an “equitable distribution” convention when dissolving marriages, which will take the couple’s situation, how the property was obtained, and other factors into account.

Decisions on Child Custody

When divorcing with minor children, child support decisions typically comply with state laws where the children live. Child custody evaluations often follow a “best interests” approach, where the judge determines what’s best for the child.

If you and your spouse live in different states and are considering divorce, weigh your options. Filing for divorce in your spouse’s state may be advantageous. Consult a divorce attorney for guidance as you prepare to move forward in your life.

Source:

  1. DeRuyter, C. (2019, April 08). What is the process of getting divorced while in different states? Retrieved June 21, 2021, from https://info.legalzoom.com/article/what-process-getting-divorced-while-different-states

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