Can I Get a Divorce if My Spouse Lives in a Different State?

Can I Get a Divorce if My Spouse Lives in a Different State?

The process of going through a divorce is usually complicated and emotionally exhausting for all parties involved in it. Throughout it, there are numerous different legal matters that must be taken care of. In order to begin the process of divorce, spouses are required to meet a residency requirement. When spouses live in the same state, this can be made simpler for them than if they live in two different states. However, it is important to know that it is still possible to get a divorce under these circumstances. 

New York Residency Requirements

When a couple files for divorce, they have to meet a residency requirement. This means that either spouse in the relationship must have lived in the state they are filing for divorce in for a minimum period of time. In the state of New York, the general standard is at least one year prior to filing for divorce. According to Domestic Relations Law 230, at least one of the following standards must be met to qualify:

  • The marriage ceremony took place in the state of New York and at least one spouse was a resident at the time for at least a year before filing for divorce
  • The couple was living together in New York with at least one of them as a resident for a year prior to filing for divorce
  • The reason for divorce filings took place in New York while both spouses were residents at the time
  • If the spouses were not married in New York, one spouse must have been a resident of the state at one time as well as lived there for at least two years before the divorce

The Divorce Process in New York

Going through a divorce is often time-consuming. The process can be accomplished in several different ways. This can include not only in a courtroom through litigation, but alternative methods such as mediation, arbitration, and collaborative divorce. It can be beneficial for spouses to avoid litigation if they are able to reach agreements on their own. However, it is not always possible for all couples. In the event that spouses are divorcing through litigation, it is best to be prepared in advance so they know what to expect.

A litigated divorce begins when a spouse files their complaint with the Superior Court. After this, pendente lite orders can be requested so that certain marital issues, such as child custody or child support, can be addressed. The court can then conduct “discovery,” during which both spouses’ financial information is obtained. If the couple is unable to make arrangements regarding their marital issues on their own, they may need to attend a trial. In these situations, a judge is appointed to make decisions for them. Once these are made, the divorce can be finalized with a Final Judgement of Divorce.

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