What Determines the State You Get Divorced In?

By Karyn Maier

Typically, you file for divorce in the jurisdiction where you currently reside. Most states, with the exception of South Dakota and Washington, require that you be a resident of the state for a certain length of time before you file for divorce. This length of time varies by state. South Dakota and Washington simply require that you be a "resident" without specifying a length of time you need to live there first. If your situation is complex and you are unsure about where to file for divorce, consult an attorney experienced in family law.

Typically, you file for divorce in the jurisdiction where you currently reside. Most states, with the exception of South Dakota and Washington, require that you be a resident of the state for a certain length of time before you file for divorce. This length of time varies by state. South Dakota and Washington simply require that you be a "resident" without specifying a length of time you need to live there first. If your situation is complex and you are unsure about where to file for divorce, consult an attorney experienced in family law.

Residency

The minimum length of residency required to file for divorce in any state is 30 days, in Alaska. If you live in Arkansas or Wyoming, the minimum duration of residency is 60 days. If you live in Arizona, Illinois, Missouri, Montana or Utah, the minimum is 90 days. Several states, such as Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and Maine, require six months of residency, while in Rhode Island, Nebraska and Massachusetts the minimum is 12 months. In South Carolina, the minimum length of residency required is 12 months unless both spouses continue to reside in the state, in which case the requirement is lowered to 90 days.

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

Proof of Residency

Most courts accept your sworn complaint as proof of your residency in the state. However, other documents can be used to verify residency, such as a driver’s license, voter registration card, utility bills in your name or a paystub showing your place of employment.

Non-Resident Issues

Although nearly all states have minimum residency requirements to start a divorce proceeding, the general rule of thumb is to file in the state where one or both parties reside at the time. However, there are occasions when temporary non-residency status can affect or delay a divorce action, such as when either spouse is on active duty in the military. According to the provisions of the Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act of 2003, formerly known as the Soldiers' and Sailors' Relief Act, members of the military can request the court to delay a divorce proceeding if extended deployment affects their ability to participate.

Other Considerations

The residency requirements in certain states include multiple criteria, any one of which must be satisfied to file for a divorce in that state. For example, according to New York Domestic Relations Law, Section 230, you can file for divorce in the state if you were married in New York, the grounds for divorce occurred in the state, or if you and your spouse resided in the state as husband and wife for a period of one year before the action is filed. If none of these conditions can be met, the residency requirements for either spouse increase to a minimum of two years continuously and immediately before filing for divorce in New York.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
How Long Do You Have to Live in a State to File for a Divorce in That State?

References

Related articles

Divorce Residence Restrictions

Nevada is famous for allowing couples to marry the same day they arrive in the state; but the residency rules for divorce are stricter. Most states, including Nevada, require that a spouse reside within the state for a certain period of time before filing for divorce. The residency requirements vary widely among jurisdictions.

How To Change Your Name & Address for Voting?

Your voter registration is only valid as long as it's accurate. So, if you've moved or changed your name, you need to update your voter registration information. To make sure your voice is heard in the next election, make it a priority to register after you move, change your name or both. Different states have different rules, so a good starting point for learning about the rules for your state is the instructions listed on the National Mail Voter Registration form or a general voting website, like Rock the Vote: Election Central. In many states, the registration is handled by the Secretary of State, but some states have other agencies, like a specific Elections Division or Board of Elections, that takes care of it.

Residency Rules for Filing for Divorce in Ohio

Most states do not allow you to move into their jurisdiction, unpack your bags and immediately file for divorce. There's a good reason for this – "friendly" divorce states would be inundated with spouses flocking there to file, maybe to the point where their court dockets would bog down to a crawl. Most states try to find a middle ground between prohibitive residency rules and no requirements at all, including Ohio.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

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 ...

How to File a Divorce in Your State of Residency While in the Military

Military members must get divorced in state civilian courts, and the basic divorce steps are similar whether the ...

What if Statements Regarding a Residence Are False in the Divorce Documents?

In order to establish jurisdiction -- a court's power to hear a case and enter judgments -- you have to meet your ...

Divorce Residency Rules in Utah

To grant a divorce, a court must have jurisdiction over the divorce case. Jurisdiction means that a court has authority ...

Browse by category