What You Need to Know About Filing for Divorce in Another State
Filing for divorce in one state while your spouse lives in another state can really muddle your divorce. When divorcing your spouse in such a scenario, you will often deal with two challenges: persuading the state court to accept your case, and persuading your state government to recognize your divorce.
If you have decided to file for divorce, you don’t actually have to be in the state that issued your marriage license. Interestingly enough, the court will refuse to hear your case if you no longer live in the state. Instead, you will have to file for divorce in the state where you currently live, or in the state where your spouse resides.
Each state has a residency requirement, meaning you must reside there for a certain amount of years or months before you can file for divorce. These residency requirements vary from state to state, but in New York, there is a minimum requirement of 2 years. You can prove you are a resident with a state-issued driver’s license, a lease, a voter registration card, etc.
Most states accept court orders and certified documents issued by other states. Just like if California issues you a driver’s license, you can use it to drive in any state, if you get divorced in one state, the verdict will usually be recognized in every other state, although there are some exceptions. No state will recognize an interstate divorce if you failed to properly notify your spouse of the proceedings. If you have children or own property in a state that does not recognize your divorce, the state might refuse to enforce a property settlement or child custody order.
After your divorce is finalized, you might want to go back to court to request a modification to the terms of your divorce settlement. You might want to ask that the custody of your child/children be switched from your spouse to you, or vice versa. Although you don’t have to go back to the state that issued your marriage license to get a divorce, you do, however, have to return to the state that approved your divorce to request that the terms of your divorce be changed. If you live in another state, that jurisdiction will usually be willing to impose the new terms of your divorce settlement, so long as your spouse was given proper notice of the proceedings.
Some people choose to get a divorce outside of the U.S. for a multitude of reasons. However, before a state will recognize a foreign divorce, two important requirements must be met; at least one spouse must have lived in said foreign country at the time of the divorce, and the spouse residing in the United States must have been properly notified of the non-U.S. divorce proceedings. In most cases, “proper notification” means notifying in a manner described in an international treaty.