Ask a Divorce Attorney: Where Do You Get a Divorce When Spouses Live in Different States?

Remaining in the home you shared with your partner can be painful, and it’s common for one spouse or both to move for a fresh start when getting divorced. However, the divorce filing process can become complex when you and your ex-spouse don’t live in the same state. Houston divorce lawyers can help you navigate the legalities of divorcing your out-of-state spouse and protect your rights throughout this challenging time.

Ask a Divorce Attorney: Where Do You Get a Divorce When Spouses Live in Different States?

Numerous circumstances can cause spouses to live in different states before beginning their divorce. Sometimes one partner will relocate¬†right at the start of the separation process; other times, you and your spouse may have lived apart for years before filing. Regardless of the situation surrounding the dissolution of your marriage, there are some things you’ll need to consider if you and your partner are filing for divorce from different states.
Since things can quickly become complicated in out-of-state divorces, you will benefit from discussing your case with a professional. Find out more as you seek the services of qualified Houston divorce lawyers.

Residency Requirements

Despite what you may have heard, you do not have to file for divorce in the same state that issued your marriage license. In fact, you can only file for divorce in a state where you or your spouse meet the residency requirements. Before you are allowed to bring your divorce case before the court, you or your partner must meet the residency requirement for the state where you are filing.
Each state has its own requirements for residency, and many states also have county requirements that affect how long you must live there before you can file. While a few states have no or minimal residency requirements, most states have rules regarding how long you must have lived there before you are permitted to file for divorce in that state.

Proving Residency

Most states will require you to prove residency before you can file. An updated driver’s license, voter registration card, utility bills, and pay stub can be used to verify residency, as can a mortgage statement or lease in your name.
In some states, you must have an affidavit from a corroborating witness that claims, under oath, that you have met the residency requirements. Typically the witness cannot be the spouse you are divorcing; it will need to be a third party.

Texas Residency Requirements

In order for you or your spouse to file for divorce in Texas, either of you must have lived in the state for at least six months. The filer must also have lived in the county where they wish to file for divorce in for at least 90 days.
In addition, individuals in the military who are stationed in Texas must have been stationed in the state for at least six months to file. However, it is acceptable if they were sent outside the state during that time for military purposes, as long as their residence is still considered in Texas.

Which State Should I File In?

If you and your spouse are in agreement regarding your divorce and do not have custody or asset division disputes, which state you file in may not impact your situation. However, individuals in a contentious divorce will want to research both parties’ state of residence before deciding where to file.

Different states handle issues such as custody and asset division differently, and if you can, you’ll want to file in the state that benefits you most. If you and your spouse both have residency and each wish to file in your own state, typically, the state where the petition was filed first will have jurisdiction (power to make legal judgments) over the filing.

Filing For Divorce in Texas With Children

When minor children are involved, divorce instantly becomes more complex. Residency requirements for children are strict because custody issues are usually emotionally charged, and courts want to minimize the chance that one parent can manipulate the system in their favor.

Children under 18 of divorcing parents must have lived in Texas for six months, or, if the child is under the age of six months, since birth. Texas courts can only make decisions about custodial issues if a child has resided in Texas for the appropriate amount of time. If you have residency in Texas, but your child does not, you’ll need to contact a lawyer to determine the best way to proceed before filing.

Consult Houston Divorce Lawyers Today

Even the most easygoing couples can find themselves at odds navigating a divorce, and the stress of completing an out-of-state divorce can strain an already rocky relationship. Hiring a legal professional protects you throughout the filing and can make your relationship with your ex-partner less complicated by adding a buffer between you.

Don’t get lost during an out-of-state divorce and unfairly sacrifice assets or time with your children. Talk to a lawyer about the befits of filing for divorce in Texas and how best to protect your interests during your divorce.

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