Does a Divorce Have to Be Filed in the Same State as the Marriage?

There are certain formalities that must be observed in order to successfully file for divorce. Jurisdictional requirements, for instance, will dictate where you are actually able to file a petition for divorce. In order to establish jurisdiction over a divorce, meaning establishing the authority to hear and decide the case, most states have requirements, such as those relating to residency, that must be met before a divorce petition can be filed.

Does a Divorce Have to Be Filed in the Same State as the Marriage?

While there may be requirements that must be fulfilled prior to filing for divorce, Florida does not require that marriage have taken place in the state in order for a divorce to be filed. In fact, most states only have residency requirements in order for a person to seek a divorce in that state. These residency requirements can greatly vary between states. Texas, for example, requires that one spouse establish residency in the state for at least six months and residency in a particular county for a minimum of 90 days prior to filing for divorce. The State of Washington, on the other hand, has no such residency requirements. A person could move to Washington and file for divorce the next day.

Florida Statute Section 61.021 requires a spouse to have resided in the state for a minimum of six months before filing for divorce. The petitioner must be prepared to prove residency before a court will hear the case. Residency can be established by proving actual, physical presence in the State of Florida and proving an intention during that presence to make Florida your primary residence. Proof of making Florida your permanent home may come in the form of:

  • Your own testimony to this fact
  • Signing a lease or buying a home
  • Obtaining permanent employment in the state
  • Joining a church or other community organization
  • Getting a Florida driver’s license
  • Registering your vehicle with the state

Things may get complicated if two spouses live in different states. Hypothetically, either one of you could file for divorce if you meet state residency requirements. You may want to consider being proactive in filing in your state of residence before your spouse can so you can hopefully avoid having to travel out of state for any divorce proceedings. You may also, however, want to consider divorce laws of each state and how they may impact divorce proceedings and the outcome of the divorce.

Florida Family Law Attorneys

When you are looking to get a divorce, jurisdictional issues and other legal complexities are probably some of the last things you want to think about. For trusted legal counsel pertaining to divorce and divorce-related matters and logistics, talk to the dedicated team at Orlando Family Team. We know the weight our clients carry as they approach a new chapter of their lives and we are here to help lighten that load. Contact us today.