Getting divorced in a state other than the one in which you were married can sometimes be a tricky business. Generally speaking, couples can only file for divorce in the state or county that has jurisdiction to hear the case. That said, one does not necessarily have to file in the state or county that issued his or her marriage certificate or even the one in which one currently resides. The locations of both spouses and how long each one has lived there will determine which state or county has jurisdiction over your divorce. If you got married in one state but live in another, please read on, then contact an experienced Hackensack, New Jersey divorce lawyer to learn who has jurisdiction over your divorce.
What determines jurisdiction in a divorce?
Americans are highly mobile people. On average, an American will move 11 or more times in the course of his or her life, in search of better job opportunities, cost of living and other factors. Additionally, many find it romantic to get married in another state, one with beautiful weather, scenery, etc. However, none of that ultimately dictates where you can file for divorce. Instead, you should consider the following factors:
- Where you meet the residency requirements: Each state has a minimum length of time that a spouse must live there before he or she can file for divorce in the state. In the Garden State, that requirement is one year, unless the grounds for divorce are adultery.
- Which spouse files first: If you meet the residency requirements of a state and are the first spouse to file divorce papers, your state will have jurisdiction over the case. The same applies if your spouse files first.
- Your children live in another state: If your children attend school in the state where your spouse lives and your spouse meets the residency requirement there, filing in your spouse’s state may be less stressful for your children. However, you will be subject to another state’s child support, custody and alimony laws.
Whatever the circumstances of your divorce, you should reach out to a skilled New Jersey divorce lawyer to discuss your next steps.
How can a Bergen County divorce attorney help you determine jurisdiction?
Many people stay in unhappy relationships because they are more predictable than a divorce and its aftermath. While there is no typical divorce, you need not fear the unknown. Our firm will help you understand what strategies work and when so you can better prepare for the road ahead. It will not be easy, but you do not have to go it alone. Please give us a call today.
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If you are facing any family law matter, contact HD Family Law today to schedule your initial consultation.