Spouses who are getting divorced sometimes ask whether they have to get divorced in the state in which they were married. The answer is no. In order for someone to file for a Complaint for Divorce, the state in which they seek to file must have “jurisdiction”.
Typically, jurisdiction is acquired by one or both spouses who have lived in that particular state for a specific period of time immediately prior to filing a Complaint for Divorce. For instance, in New Jersey, the person filing a Complaint for Divorce (or his or her spouse) must have resided in New Jersey for at least one year prior to the filing. In Pennsylvania, the person filing or his or her spouse must have resided in Pennsylvania for at least six months immediately preceding the filing.
In some circumstances, if each spouse lives in a different state, either spouse’s state may have jurisdiction to enter a Final Judgment of Divorce. As such, it is very important for a spouse seeking a divorce to discuss each state’s laws with an attorney whenever it is possible for two different states to have jurisdiction. As in the case of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, there can be extremely significant and important differences in each state’s divorce laws. Therefore, it is wise to discuss these issues with an attorney who actively practices in both states in order to determine which state’s laws are more advantageous to your circumstances. All of the attorneys at Wilhelm & Roemersma are licensed to practice law in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and all of the firm’s attorneys actively practice in both states.
If you have any questions about which jurisdiction may be more advantageous to your case, please do not hesitate to call our offices.