How Can I File for Divorce If My Spouse Moved Out of State?

When married partners separate, they do not always remain in the same state. One might take a job in a different state. Another might move back to the state they lived in when they were younger. However, either party can still end the marriage. The biggest concern usually boils down to residency. In other words, should the divorcing party file in the new or old state? Unless the party has legal residency in the new state, they will have to wait to file. Otherwise, they could move back to the former state, file, and then relocate after the divorce is finalized.

Each state has its own legal residency requirement. New Jersey requires an uninterrupted year of living in the state. However, if your spouse committed adultery while you both resided in New Jersey, there is an exception to the one-year rule. Along with residency, other factors need to be considered when the parties no longer live in the same state, including child custody.

How to File for Divorce When Parents Live in Different States

Filing for divorce in any state gives the state jurisdiction over the marriage. If children are involved, that state will also determine how to arrange custody in their best interests. For instance, in some divorces, the courts may prefer that children live part-time with one parent and part-time with the other, which can be tough if parents live in different states. For this reason, you should discuss with your divorce lawyer which state has more favorable child custody laws, given their circumstances.

Sometimes divorces involve extenuating circumstances that may muddy the waters, such as when one parent has perpetrated documented abuse against the other parent and/or their minor children. A knowledgeable divorce lawyer will be able to explain all the nuances of the law, as well as apply them to the client’s situation. Obtaining a legal opinion upfront is essential, because mistakes can be emotionally and financially costly.

Filing for Divorce Without an Attorney

Any married person can initiate a divorce without retaining the services of a divorce lawyer. Yet, doing so can be tricky, especially when the divorce involves parties living in two different states. Remember that deadlines and filing expectations are strict and making mistakes can create hiccups in the process. For instance, if someone has not established residency or incorrectly serves the other party with divorce papers, the case may be delayed or thrown out.

Contact our New Jersey attorneys at (856) 512-1461 for your free consultation.

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