After a married couple separates, there may be little to no reason for one of them to stick around in the same state. That is why it is not uncommon for one spouse to move to another state prior to any divorce action even being filed. While relocation prior to filing for divorce is not uncommon, it can still make things more complicated with divorce looming in the future. The direct truth is that you can still get divorced with your spouse living in the other state, but there are likely going to be some added logistical hurdles that will need to be overcome.
Divorcing a Spouse in a Different State
In order to get divorced in Florida, you need to meet specific residency requirements. You do not need to go back to the state in which you got married to seek a divorce, but you will still need to meet residency requirements for a court to allow your divorce case to proceed. Florida requires a person to reside in the state for at least six months prior to filing for divorce. This means that you or your spouse could file for divorce in Florida as long as you, the filer, have lived there for at least six months.
It is possible, however, that you may meet the residency requirements to file for a Florida divorce and your spouse, living in another state, meets the residency requirements of that other state to file for divorce there. This means that either you can file for divorce in Florida or your spouse could file for divorce in that other state. Usually, the state where the divorce was filed first will assume jurisdiction over the divorce proceedings. This means it might be a race to the courthouse if you want your state to have jurisdiction over the proceedings.
It might not be the case, however, where you would want your state to have jurisdiction over the divorce proceedings. You may prefer to have the laws of the state where your spouse is living to rule over the divorce proceedings. There are a number of state specific laws that can have a big impact on your divorce case, but vary widely between states. Laws affecting child custody, alimony, division of the marital property, division of marital debt, and child support can all vary between states. If the state in which your spouse resides has laws that you feel would be more favorable to your case, then you may want them to file there instead of in your own state. Because of this, you may want to investigate the laws in both states before you proceed. Alternatively, you may have a very straightforward divorce case where you and your spouse agree to all of the terms. In this situation, it might not matter very much as to where you do end up filing.
Florida Family Law Attorneys
The team at Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou is here to help you before you even file for divorce and will continue to do so throughout divorce proceedings. Contact us today.