Can You File for Divorce Anywhere?

By Wayne Thomas

The divorce process is governed entirely by state law. Often, significant differences between states regarding the recognized grounds for divorce and how matters related to custody, property, and spousal support are decided. However, you are not free to simply file in any jurisdiction you choose; you must meet the state specific residency requirements. These laws require you to have some connection with the state before pursuing a divorce action.

The divorce process is governed entirely by state law. Often, significant differences between states regarding the recognized grounds for divorce and how matters related to custody, property, and spousal support are decided. However, you are not free to simply file in any jurisdiction you choose; you must meet the state specific residency requirements. These laws require you to have some connection with the state before pursuing a divorce action.

Common Residency Requirements

State laws can vary greatly when it comes to the residency requirement. In some states, including Alabama, at least one spouse must have lived in the state for a set time period, such as six months. Other states, including New York, offer a reduced time period required to establish residency, if the events that led up to the marital breakdown occurred locally. Finally, some states, including Maine, allow you to divorce, if you were married in that state and the filing spouse currently lives in the state, and has done so for any length of time. It is not uncommon for states to have one or more options for satisfying the residency requirement.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Qualifications for Divorce

References

Related articles

A Complaint for a Divorce With Children in Michigan

A complaint establishes the initial framework in a divorce. In Michigan, parties with minor children must file a specific complaint form. The divorce process does not officially commence until one spouse delivers the paperwork to the court. Understanding what you must include in a complaint when you have minor children, as well as what happens after filing, can help you better prepare for your Michigan divorce.

I Am in North Carolina & My Wife Is in California: Can I Still Get a Divorce?

When you live in North Carolina and your wife lives in California, you can still get a divorce. However, certain residency requirements may come into play, which will affect whether your or your wife may file for divorce where you live. In addition, specific rules apply if you and your spouse have minor children -- these rules dictate which state has jurisdiction to issue an order regarding custody. Further, state-specific property division rules may also play into the decision of where to file.

Divorce & Jurisdiction

State laws vary when it comes to obtaining a divorce, so it may be tempting to file for divorce in the state with the procedures most friendly to your case. But a court must have proper jurisdiction to address the cases before it, so not every court has authority to grant you a divorce and rule on the issues involved. Generally, you must file in the state where you or your spouse meets residency requirements.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Where Can you File for a Divorce When Your Spouse Resides in Another State?

In most divorces, the separating couple will remain in the same state -- probably even the same county or town. Filing ...

Does the State Your Marriage License Is in Matter to Get a Divorce?

When it comes to divorce, where you got married has absolutely nothing to do with where you may get divorced. As long ...

Grounds for Divorce Meaning

When you ask a court to do something for you, such as grant you a divorce, you must give a reason for your request when ...

Can a Divorce Be Pending in Two States?

It is possible for a divorce to be pending in two states at once. This can occur when a husband and wife live in ...

Browse by category