Moving Out Of State Before Filing For Divorce

Can You File For Divorce In Another State

Divorce Out Of State

You never know when you may have to move to another state or jurisdiction. It could be that you got a new job, or you want to be closer to your parents, or because of another important reason. Moving can complicate things especially if you are planning a future divorce proceeding.

In case you are moving across state lines, you need to know that family laws can be drastically different in different states. Some states allow alimony while others don’t, some states expect non-custodial parents to pay more child support while others do not, and so on.  This means that where you file for divorce can impact the results for you and your family after the divorce is finalized.  In addition, if you attempt to relocate to another state right before filing for divorce, and there are minor children of a marriage, your spouse may request the Court to order that you and your children relocate back to the location where you previously resided with your spouse.   It is important to consult with an Austin Divorce Attorney especially if children are involved before attempting to move out of state if you are contemplating divorce.

Understanding Jurisdiction

How To File For Divorce When Spouse Is Out Of State

Moving Out Of State Before Filing For DivorceJurisdiction is the power or authority a court has to hear a case and issue orders on that case.  A court only has jurisdiction over your divorce suit if you fulfill residency requirements before you file the divorce petition.  This is referred to as subject-matter jurisdiction, meaning you have to have certain contacts within the state for the state to exercise jurisdiction over you.

Every state has its requirements for subject-matter jurisdiction. For instance, in Texas, you have to have resided in the state continuously for 6 months and resided in the county you live in for 90 days for you to file for divorce.  In Arkansas, you only need to have resided in the state for 60 days while in Washington, you can file for divorce the next day after moving to the state, provided that you are an actual “resident” and intend to live there and you are not just on vacation.

But even if you meet the subject matter jurisdiction, the court may lack jurisdiction to divide your property or issue custody orders as under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), jurisdiction for child custody matters occurs where the children have resided for the preceding six month period.

What If Your Spouse Files For Divorce In Another State?

Moving Out Of State After Filing For Divorce

A spouse may file for divorce in another state after living with the other spouse for years in Texas. Some may do it to benefit from certain laws in other states. For example, your spouse may decide to file for divorce in a state that allows for alimony, which is difficult to be awarded in Texas.

Having a divorce pending in another state, means that the other spouse not only has to travel to the other state for divorce proceedings but may also have to contemplate paying alimony.   If the spouses live in different states where they each meet residency requirements, they may be able to file for divorce in either state; but it depends on the facts, circumstances, and jurisdictional requirements for meeting residency to file for divorce.

To know whether to file for divorce in a different state or not, talk to an experienced divorce lawyer that is familiar with the family law of that particular state.

Can You Move The Suit To Another State?

How Does Divorce Work If You Live In Different States

If your spouse has filed for divorce in another state, you should contact an experienced family law attorney to provide legal advice to you.  In the state of Texas, if jurisdiction is contested, oftentimes a “special appearance” will have to be filed to contest jurisdiction and you must be careful to not file an answer before filing a “special appearance” or you may submit to jurisdiction in that state.   If you are contemplating divorce and your spouse resides in another state, it is important to obtain legal advice to understand the best strategy for your situation.

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