Residency Requirements for Florida Divorce
Each state has its own rules regarding the dissolution of marriage to determine who is eligible to file for divorce in that state, and Florida is no exception. Most people believe that you must divorce in the state in which you were married, but that is not the case if you meet certain qualifications in a different state. If you are considering filing for divorce in Florida, you need to make sure that you meet the first step in eligibility: the residency requirement.
Florida Residency Requirement Law
In order to file for divorce in Florida, the residency requirement must be met before the circuit court will agree to take your case. The residency requirement for Florida can be found in the state statute Chapter 61.021. The statute states that “to obtain a dissolution of marriage, one of the parties to the marriage must reside six months in the state before filing the petition.”
In order to prove that you have met the six-month requirement for residency, the statutes further provide that you can corroborate your residency with a valid Florida driver’s license, a Florida voter’s registration card, a valid Florida identification card, or the testimony by a valid third party. An affidavit signed by a third party that establishes your residency is also allowed.
The issue of residency is usually a concern for a spouse that has recently moved or is planning on moving to a different state in the near future. Once you have established your residency in Florida, the most common way to file for divorce is to go to the courthouse in your county. If you are unsure of whether you meet the residency requirement, speaking with an experienced family law attorney can help clear up any issues.
Options if Residency is Not Met
If you do not meet the statutory residency requirement for Florida, the family court does not have jurisdiction over your divorce case and it will be dismissed. However, if you discover that you do not qualify for the residency requirement to obtain a divorce in Florida, you can consider one of the following options:
- Choose not to proceed with the divorce;
- Establish residency in Florida for the required time period;
- Have your spouse submit the divorce filing if he or she meets the requirements before you do; or
- Choose another state where you or your spouse may meet the residency requirement for divorce.
If you choose to establish residency in the state in order to file for divorce in Florida, it is important to note that you can begin the process of getting your divorce documents together beforehand. There is no rule that states that all documents must also be dated six months after residency is established.
Call a Florida Divorce Attorney Today
There are many requirements that must be met in order to qualify for a divorce in Florida. If you or someone that you know is considering a Florida divorce in the Orlando area, let Steve W. Marsee, P.A. help. Call the office at 407-521-7171 or contact the firm today for a free and confidential consultation of your case.