18 Jul 16

Do I have to live in a state to get a divorce there?

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Do I have to live in a state to get a divorce there?

This is a common question for people getting a divorce, especially people who may have heard about “Reno divorces.” While it’s true that a few states will allow you to obtain a divorce without legal residency (Nevada, contrary to the rumors is not one of these states), nearly every state requires you to be a resident to obtain a divorce.

State by State Requirements for Residency

The required length of residency to file for divorce varies from state to state. A majority of states require you to be a legal resident for a period that lasts between 6 months and one year before you can file for divorce. Below is a list, in ascending order, of each state’s required residency duration for filing a divorce.

  • No residency requirement–Alaska, South Dakota, and Wahington
  • 6 Weeks–Idaho and Nevada
  • 60 Days–Arkansas, Kansas and Wyoming
  • 90 Days–Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Missouri, Montana, and Utah
  • 6 months–Alabama, California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin
  • 1 year–Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and West Virginia

Providing Proof of Residency

All states require you to be able to prove that you’ve resided in their state for the required duration period. Legal proof of residency usually involves at least two of the following pieces of information:

  • A current utility bill
  • A current pay stub
  • A current Driver’s License or state-issued ID card
  • Up-to-date car, life, or health insurance policy card

Exceptions to the Rule

Currently, there are only three states that allow people to get a divorce without legal residency: South Dakota, Alaska, and Washington. Don’t assume that this means it is an easy process to get divorced in these three states. Each state still has unique requirements you must meet in order to file a divorce. Be sure to check state laws before you begin divorce proceedings.

Residual Issues of Divorce

Whichever court initially handled the divorce settlement will have jurisdiction over every residual issue of the divorce. These include, but are not limited to:

Because of this, it’s important that you file for divorce in your home state. Failing to do so means you will probably have to deal with high travel expenses, as well as the general hassle of traveling to another state for each court proceeding. This is definitely something to bear in mind if you or your spouse is considering filing for divorce in another state.  If you need more information, speak to one of our top divorce attorneys in nyc.

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