Where Do I File For Divorce?

in Florida
I often receive phone calls from individuals who wish to file for a Divorce or Dissolution of Marriage but they have questions about their ability to file in Florida. Often, one of the participants resides in Florida and the other resides out of state.
What if there are minor children who reside elsewhere?
Can a court in Florida make rulings concerning children who reside elsewhere?
There is no one set answer to these questions. I will try to offer a basic summary of venue and jurisdiction for dissolution cases.

VENUE deals with the question: In which county should the Dissolution of Marriage be filed? What if the parties were previously residing in Broward County when they lived together, but after separation the Husband moved to Palm Beach County? For convenience sake the Husband will probably want to file close to home, which would be Palm Beach. Technically a Dissolution of Marriage can be filed in any county in Florida. However, the proper county would be the county where the parties last lived together as man and wife, which in my hypothetical would be Broward County.

If one of the participants lives in another state does a Florida Court have jurisdiction? The answer to that depends on several factors. The first thing a party must prove is his/her residency in this state for at least 6 months prior to the filing of the dissolution action. If either party resided in this state for the required 6 months the Court would have jurisdiction. However, the court may only be able to dissolve the marriage and not rule on any substantive issues such as child support, alimony or equitable distribution of property.

If the parties resided in Florida and one of the parties moved away, the Court will be able to take jurisdiction over all issues. If the parties were living as husband and wife in another state and the Wife moved to Florida without her Husband, than the answer would be different. In this scenario the Wife could file for Dissolution after living here for 6 months, but because the Husband never lived here, she could only end the marriage and not address all other issues. She would have to file additional proceedings in the state where they lived together.

Issues concerning minor children can only be addressed after the minor children reside here for six months, as well. After this period of time, Florida would be considered the minor childs home state. That does not however give the Court jurisdiction to necessarily entertain child support issues if one of the parents never resided in Florida.

I know this can be quite confusing. If you have issues that seem to relate to any of these scenarios, I suggest you contact my office to discuss them further.
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Evan H. Baron has 1 articles online

For more information about a Weston lawyer near you or to speak with a divorce lawyer in Broward, please visit http://www.divorcebroward.com.

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Where Do I File For Divorce?

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This article was published on 2010/11/18
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