Couple with Divorce Contract and Ring on Desk

How Does Divorce Work Across State Lines? 

Wilson Law Firm PLLC Dec. 7, 2022

Going through a divorce is complicated enough. Going through a divorce when spouses live in different states can become even more complicated. From my office, Wilson Law Firm PLLC, in Shawnee, Oklahoma, I work diligently to help your situation move as smoothly as possible.  

I serve those in Shawnee, Chandler, Norman, Okemah, Ada, and the surrounding areas. I am here to share my experience with you regarding divorce across state lines, so reach out today and schedule a meeting. You won’t have to understand and go through the process of divorce by yourself. Let’s discuss what to expect when divorcing a spouse living in a different state.  

Eligibility to File for Divorce 

When my clients contact me about a divorce, the first thing we discuss is eligibility rules: 

  • When spouses live in different states following a split, it is not necessary to file for divorce in the state where the marriage certificate was issued. Additionally, filing for divorce in the same state is unnecessary. The filing party can request a divorce in the state where they currently reside as long as they meet the residency requirements. 

  • Please note that the residency requirements vary from state to state. In some states, residency requirements start at 90 days. In Oklahoma, either one of the spouses must have resided for at least six months before the filing date. In other words, you can file for divorce after you or your spouse have lived in Oklahoma for six months.  

It is highly important to ensure you meet the residency requirements before filing for a divorce. Otherwise, the file will be dismissed until the residency requirements are fulfilled. 

Choice of Law When Filing for Divorce 

Choosing which state to file for divorce may depend on additional factors. These factors include the complexity of the legal process, the processing times, and protection. Please note that states treat issues such as child support, alimony, and custody differently. Therefore, the filing party may choose to file in the state that offers the most favorable legal conditions. 

Jurisdiction Over the Spouses 

Jurisdiction refers to the power that the court has over the marriage. As such, the court may be able to grant the divorce. However, the court may not be able to rule over property situated in other states. Furthermore, the court may be unable to rule in terms of child custody. This situation can happen when the children live in a different state and have no connection to the state where the divorce was filed. Consequently, custody matters would need to be resolved in the children’s home state. 

Key Factors to Consider When Divorcing Across State Lines 

Here are two key factors to consider before divorcing across state lines: 

  • Asset division. A court may not have jurisdiction to decide over the property in a different state. Therefore, asset division may need to be resolved in the state where the other spouse resides, and the property is located. The marriage dissolution itself may take place, but the asset division may still be up in the air. The final divorce papers may be delayed because of such situations. If both parties agree to the asset division, the entire divorce process is much simpler. 

  • Child custody and support. It is important to note if the court has jurisdiction over child custody. If so, then filing in that state can solve both child custody and support issues. However, if the state does not have jurisdiction, a separate legal process needs to take place in order to determine child custody and support in the state where the children reside. 

It is critical to get the right legal counsel from a trusted family attorney or divorce lawyer to examine these issues before filing for divorce across state lines. Making an informed decision can save time and effort. 

Discover Your Options Today

Divorce is tough enough. There is no reason to face it alone. At the Wilson Law Firm PLLC, I pledge my clients my utmost efforts to get them the help they need. I strive to provide my clients with the support they need to protect their rights. Don’t face divorce alone. Reach out today to get the support you deserve from a trusted family law attorney.