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Do I Have To File For Divorce In The State In Which I Was Married?


As you may know, couples must meet certain requirements in order to file for divorce. Those requirements vary from state to state. Many people believe that they have to file for divorce in the state in which they got married. But is that actually true?

That depends on where you are filing a petition for divorce. If you are considering filing for divorce in Orlando, Florida, contact a skilled attorney to help you navigate the state requirements and divorce process.

Do You Have to File for Divorce in the State Where You Got Married?

While residency requirements vary from one state to another, Florida does not require couples to file a petition for divorce in the state where their marriage took place. Thus, for example, if you got married in California, you can file for divorce in Florida as long as you meet the residency requirements.

According to Fla. Stat. § 61.021, one or both spouses must reside in Florida for at least six months prior to filing a divorce petition. If you or your spouse has not lived in Florida for the past half a year, you cannot file for divorce in Florida.

How to Prove the Florida Residency When Filing for Divorce?

In order to file for divorce in Florida, you must prove that you meet the state’s residency requirements. But how can you prove that you or your spouse lived in the Sunshine State for the past six or more months?

You must demonstrate proof of actual and physical presence in Florida for the past half a year and an intention to make the state your permanent home. This can be done by showing:

  • A lease agreement;
  • Ownership of a property in the state;
  • Proof of permanent employment in the state;
  • A driver’s license issued in the state;
  • Vehicle registration in the state; or
  • Your testimony or affidavit of a resident witness.

If you and your spouse live in two different states, things can get complicated if both of you decide to file for divorce in your respective states. Thus, if your marriage is headed toward a divorce, it is critical to take action as soon as possible to file a petition for divorce in Florida before your spouse does.

What to Do if We Don’t Meet Florida’s Residency Requirements?

We do not meet Florida’s residency requirements to file for divorce. Does it mean that we cannot get divorced?” you may wonder. In that situation, you have three options:

  1. Wait until you have resided in Florida for six months to file a petition for divorce;
  2. Have your spouse file a petition if they meet the residency requirement; or
  3. Choose another state in which you meet the residency requirements (e.g., you may be able to file for divorce in the state where you got married).

Contact an Orlando Divorce Attorney Today

As you can see, you do not necessarily have to file for divorce in the state in which you were married if you are seeking a divorce in Florida. However, you must meet residency requirements in order to file a divorce petition in the Sunshine State.

It is important to seek legal counsel to make sure that you understand other formalities and legal complexities of pursuing a divorce in Florida. Our Orlando divorce attorneys at the Law Offices of Steve W. Marsee, P.A., can help you navigate Florida divorce laws. Book a consultation by calling 407-521-7171.

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