Four Legal Requirements You Must Meet To Divorce

Posted on: 28 December 2017

People don't usually think of divorce as something that has legal requirements, but it does. In fact, you can be turned away from the divorce court if you don't meet the requirements. Here are some of the most important of these divorce requirements:

Meet the Residency Requirements of the State

Most states require you to have lived in their jurisdictions for a specified period (leading up to the divorce) before filing for divorce within their borders. The residency periods can be as short as a couple of months or as long as a year, but you have to meet it irrespective of its length. In most states, only one of you is required to meet the residency requirement so you can file for divorce in your state even if your partner has been absent for a year or so.

Satisfy the Waiting Period Requirement

In addition to residency requirements, some states also have a waiting or separation period before proceeding with divorce. In some of these states, you may be required to live in separate residences during the waiting period. The idea is to discourage people from making mistakes and filing for divorce every time they have a squabble.

Satisfy the Legal Grounds Requirement

You also need to have a ground for your divorce, i.e. the reason you want to separate from your partner. Fortunately; this isn't usually a problem because most states accept no-fault divorce. Many places give you the opportunity to cite a legal ground (that you have to prove) or use irreconcilable differences for your divorce; you don't have to prove anything for the latter ground.

File the Divorce at the Right Court

You can't just file for divorce in any court within your state. In most cases, the appropriate court is the one in your county – that is, the county where you or your spouse has lived in the last few months leading up to the divorce. Note that the one who files for divorce first (provided they meet the residency requirements) gets to choose the jurisdiction in charge of the divorce issues. If you live in different states, then this is a big deal given that different jurisdictions have different laws governing various aspects of divorce such as child custody, alimony, and asset division.

If you are totally clueless as far as divorce requirements are concerned, then its best you consult a divorce lawyer before beginning the process. That way you will have everything right the first time.