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Florida Divorce Residency Requirements

Posted on July 28, 2015

Every state has its own laws regarding divorce and who is eligible to petition for a dissolution of marriage. In Florida, one of the requirements for divorce is residency. This means that you must reside within the borders of the state for a certain amount of time before petitioning for divorce. If you do not meet the residency requirement, then your divorce petition will be dismissed from that state’s family law court. Every state’s residency requirement is different, so it is important to review the laws of your state before filing for divorce.

Importance of Residency

Establishing residency before a divorce is important for a number of reasons. First, it allows you the time to understand the divorce laws in that state before you decide to file. In addition, it prevents people from filing in states that have laws most favorable to them or purposely far away to cause trouble for the other spouse. Residency is also important because most people are unaware of the fact that you can file for divorce in a state other than the one where you were married, but this allows a spouse to do so.

Florida Divorce Residency Law

Under state law, Fla. Stat. 61.021 states that “To obtain a dissolution of marriage, one of the parties to the marriage must reside six months in the state before the filing of the petition.” The petition for divorce can be filed in a county courthouse where either or both of the spouses reside. If the divorce involves a military spouse, residing at a military base for six months in any branch of the armed forces is considered the equivalent of staying in a home, so a member of the military can file for divorce and fulfill the residency requirement in Florida.

Other Options for Divorce

If you discover that you do not meet the residency requirements for a divorce in Florida, you have other options that you can consider. First, you can withhold your petition for divorce until the six month residency period has passed, thus making you eligible under Florida law to file. It is also important to note that during the residency period you can begin collecting important documents and evidence necessary for the divorce proceedings, you simply cannot file the paperwork yet.

Second, you can request that your spouse submit the petition for divorce if they meet the residency requirements for the state. Third, you can file for divorce in another state where you do meet the residency requirements for the dissolution of marriage. Finally, one last option is to try and save the marriage by attending counseling or some other form of help.

Our Office can Help

If you or someone that you know is considering divorce in the Fort Lauderdale area, our experienced family law attorneys at Stok Kon + Braverman are here to help. Call the office or contact us today for a free and confidential consultation of your possible divorce case.

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