Does it Matter Where You Live? – State Residency Requirements for Divorce
Deciding to get a divorce is never easy, but you can make the situation less stressful for yourself by understanding a few basic rules concerning divorce in your own specific area. One of the areas that causes a lot of confusion is understanding the state residency requirements for filing for divorce.
Some people mistakenly believe that they must file for divorce in the same state where they were married. This is not the case unless they do in fact still reside in that state. Any person can file for divorce in the state where they are currently living provided they meet that state’s residency requirements. The challenge is that states set their own requirements, and these can vary greatly. A few states have no other requirement than that you be physically present in the state when you file your divorce paperwork. Some have minimal requirements, from 30 to 60 days. More commonly, a state will require that you have been living there for a consecutive 6 to 12 months.
You and your spouse do not need to be living in the same state should either of you decide to file for divorce, but the one who files will have to meet the residency requirements of their particular state. If you are certain that divorce is the correct option for you and you meet your state’s residency requirements, it is to your benefit for you to file within your state. If your spouse files in a different state before you do, you could be required to travel to their location to settle the terms of your divorce. Location can also impact custody, child support and alimony settlements.
Because each state is different and the laws of residency are probably about the last thing anyone wants to be thinking about when they are facing a divorce, the best option is to retain a local divorce attorney. Having someone who understands the local laws looking out for your best interests is key. Sometimes just having someone who can answer your questions about what to expect during your divorce is the best peace of mind you can get.
If you are in a situation where you believe divorce is the best answer, remember that you don’t have to navigate the process on your own.