St. Petersburg, FL – All states in the U.S. have some kind of residency requirements to ensure that a divorce is filed in the proper venue. In most cases, at least one of the spouses will need to have lived in the state for a few months to a year before a local family judge will hear their divorce case. Individuals who do not meet these requirements may have to file in their prior state of residence. In situations where residency is complex because the spouses have come from other states or countries, it is best to get legal advice that is tailored to their specific situation.
State residency requirements for divorce
As a baseline matter, all divorces must start with proof of residency before they can proceed. The relevant statute says that at least one spouse must have lived in Florida for at least six months prior to filing a petition to dissolve the marriage. The specific evidence used to establish residency must show both a consistent presence in the state and an intention to stay long term. There have also been cases where things like vacations or temporary stays of a few months have been found to not meet the residency requirement. Requirements related to actual presence in the jurisdiction and an intention to stay are strict. Whether these requirements are met may be a very fact intensive inquiry related to the couple’s activities in the prior six months and other forms of documentation related to things like leases, mortgages, utilities, and driver’s licenses.
When the residency requirements are not met
There may be procedures in the prior state of residency to file a divorce petition where the couple previously lived. The person filing for divorce should check their prior state of residence’s laws for more info.
In situations where one spouse has come from another country and is not a U.S. citizen and the other is not a Florida resident but a U.S. citizen, it is usually most convenient to file for divorce in the country where the U.S. citizen does meet residency requirements. However, it is always best to get legal advice that is specific to the situation rather than making mistakes that need to be corrected later.
Local family attorneys in the St. Petersburg area
The Law Offices of Yeazell and Sweet is a firm that handles all aspects of divorce and problems with child support, custody, alimony, prenuptial agreements, and various family law issues. Potential clients can speak with someone at the firm to get more information that is relevant to their situation and advice about ongoing litigation and court hearings.
Firm contact info:
1901 Ulmerton Road, Suite 435, Clearwater, FL 33762