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Do NJ or PA state laws apply to my divorce?

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Do New Jersey or Pennsylvania laws apply to my divorce?

Sometimes, the answer to this question is not as easy as it may seem.

The divorce laws between New Jersey and Pennsylvania vary; and therefore, it can be difficult to determine which laws will be applied to a particular circumstance.

Which divorce laws apply if my spouse lives in a different state?

If each spouse lives in a different state, which state would have jurisdication to enter a Final Judgement of Divorce if the parties decided to get divorced?

Each state has a specific residency requirement which must be met before a Complaint for Divorce can be filed in that state. Specifically with respect to New Jersey and Pennsylvania, one spouse must have lived in New Jersey for at least one year prior to the filing of the Complaint for Divorce; whereas in Pennsylvania, one spouse must have lived in that state for at least six months prior to the filing.

Therefore, if the parties have been separated for more than a year with one spouse living in New Jersey and the other living in Pennsylvania, both states may have jurisdiction to hear the divorce case, and it may come down to which party files first.

New Jersey and Pennsylvania also have vastly different laws regarding some very common issues in divorce cases. For example:

  • The definition of emancipation (for support purposes) is different in both states.
  • Each state has different laws with respect to alimony and how some assets are distributed between the parties. 
  • In addition to differences in state laws and Rules of Court, both states have vastly different procedures on how your issues must be presented to the Court.

Because of the nuisances of the laws between states, it is important that you discuss your situation with an attorney who understands how divorce is handled in each state.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding which state’s laws apply to your martial issues and circumstances, it is highly recommended that you consult with an attorney who is licensed and actively practices in both states. The attorneys at Winegar, Wilhelm, Glynn & Roemersma are all licensed to practice law in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and we can determine which state’s laws apply to your particular situation. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.

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