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.

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
Is the Absence of Sexual Relations Grounds for Divorce?
 

Related articles

Can a Sole Proprietor Have a Business in Multiple States?

For new business owners, complying with all of the laws in one state can be tricky. Owners who wish to conduct business in multiple states have additional, sometimes contradictory, requirements to juggle. Fortunately, the ease and speed in setting up a business as a sole proprietorship generally holds up across state lines. However, owners should be aware of specific local rules, particularly with regard to certain regulated industries, to ensure a successful multistate operation.

What's Required to Get Divorced?

To get divorced, you need a reason that’s acceptable to the court. You need a court that can legally take jurisdiction over your matter and make decisions regarding it; you accomplish this by living in the state where you file for a prescribed period of time. You must also address and resolve all issues of your marriage, including custody and parenting time with your children, before a court will allow you and your spouse to legally part ways.

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 the initial paperwork for a divorce is a straightforward process when the parties live in the same jurisdiction. In some situations, however, one or both spouses move to another state. In these cases, it is important to familiarize yourself with residency requirements before you file for divorce.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

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 ...

Is Imprisonment Grounds for Divorce?

If your spouse commits a crime and gets put in prison, you may not want to stay married any longer. While you can ...

Filing No Fault Divorce in Pennsylvania

Courts used to require a spouse to prove fault, or reasons for the failure of the marriage, such as abandonment or ...

Do You Have to Be Separated for 6 Months to File for a Divorce?

How long you and your spouse must live separately before you can file for divorce – or if you even have to live ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED