How to Get a Divorce Out of State

By Beverly Bird

If your marriage is headed for divorce, filing in another state might offer some advantages. The laws might allow finalization of your divorce more quickly than your current jurisdiction. You might want to move because your marriage has ended, and you don’t want to wait to relocate until it is officially over. The divorce process in most states is very similar, but some practical considerations apply.

Step 1

Speak with your spouse if you have children, and you want to take them with you. Most states will not allow you to relocate with your children without your spouse’s consent or the approval of the court.

Step 2

Write out your agreement with your spouse if he consents to your move with your children. Have it signed and notarized or have an attorney draft it and file it with the court on your behalf. Using an attorney is preferable, because if your spouse later contends that you didn't have his legal permission, a court might order your children to come home.

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

Step 3

File a motion with the court asking for permission, if your spouse does not agree to let you move with your children. This will probably prompt a custody hearing. If you don’t want to file for divorce in your current state and have custody issues heard by a judge that way, most states allow you to file a lawsuit just to address custody matters.

Step 4

Establish residency in the state you’re moving to. All states require that you live there a minimum period of time before you can file a divorce complaint or petition. In Nevada, this is only six months. Other states, such as Maryland and Massachusetts, require you to live there for an entire year if your grounds, or the reason you’re breaking up, happened elsewhere. Check your prospective state’s website to find out what rules apply there.

Step 5

File for divorce after you’ve established residency. This process also varies from state to state, but in all jurisdictions, you must file a complaint or petition to get the process started. Speak with an attorney in your new area to make sure you understand the procedure, even if you don’t want to retain him to handle your entire divorce.

Step 6

Arrange to have your spouse served with your papers after you’ve filed for divorce. All states require that you give your spouse a copy of your petition. Acceptable methods also vary between jurisdictions, so check your state’s website to find out what applies in your new location. Your new state’s rules would govern the process, not those where you used to live. If your new state requires service by a sheriff’s officer, you’ll have to contact the department in your former state to have this accomplished. Some states will allow you to serve your spouse by certified mail.

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


Related articles

Can You Restart a Divorce Case?

Some states allow uncertain spouses to push the pause button in the middle of a divorce, effectively halting the action. If you decide to proceed with a paused case, you simply notify the court. Even if you terminate the case by filing a dismissal, you can still restart the divorce in some states by filing a petition to reinstate.

Moving Out of State in the Middle of a Custody Battle in Texas

If you’re in the middle of active custody litigation, Texas courts won’t take it well if you suddenly move out of state with your children without permission. Section 153.001(a)(1) of the Texas code specifically cites that it is the state’s policy to ensure that children have frequent and loving contact with both parents. If you take steps to alter your children’s contact with their other parent by moving, it could conceivably cost you custody.

How to File for a Divorce in Indiana

There is usually an easy way and a hard way to get a divorce. If you and your spouse are contesting any issues, you’re probably stuck with doing it the hard way. If you live in Indiana, however, the state streamlines the process a little to make it as painless for you as possible.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Leaving the State After Filing for Divorce

Before any state can grant a divorce, it must have jurisdiction over both spouses. Jurisdiction gives it the right to ...

Reasons to Change Jurisdiction in Child Custody

Changing jurisdictions during your divorce can complicate matters, but it’s not always possible or desirable to stay in ...

Standards for Moving Children During a Divorce in Georgia

The Georgia Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in 2003 regarding parental relocation, effectively turning ...

Can One Parent Take a Child Out of State Prior to Divorce Filing?

When spouses can no longer live together and are divorcing, they often want to put some distance between themselves. In ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED