Lawyers Helping Families Sort Out Legal Matters

Questions about state residency and divorce

Nearly every state requires you to be a state resident before you can file for divorce in that state. If you and your spouse recently moved to Texas, for example, you will need to file for divorce in the state where you previously resided. The residency requirement before you can file for divorce in Texas is six months or 180 days.

Here are a few things you may want keep in mind if you have recently moved to Texas and you plan to get a divorce:

Is it better to file for divorce in Texas?

Spouses who recently moved to Texas -- and plan to continue living here -- may want to wait the required six months to establish residency as opposed to filing immediately in the state where they currently have residency. This will avoid the cost and inconvenience of needing to travel to the other state for court hearings. If you don't want to stay in Texas and plan to move back to your home state, on the other hand, you might want to file in your home state so your legal proceedings will be closer to you.

What if my spouse and I live in two different states?

Sometimes, one spouse has residency in one state, and the other spouse has residency in the other. This could happen if the spouses moved away from one another before finalizing their divorce proceedings. If this happened to you, it could be wise to file for divorce first, so that your divorce proceedings take place closer to you.

What state will decide my child custody matter?

Some spouses may find that filing in one state is more advantageous than filing in another. For example, Texas child custody laws and case law could be very different than the child custody laws in another area of the country. The deciding factor for child custody jurisdiction is usually where the child physically lives. If the child recently moved to a new state, the "home state" will be the state in which the child last lived for at least six months.

Also, if a state court has already issued a child custody decree, in most cases, this state can assert continuing jurisdiction over subsequent modification proceedings if one of the parents is still a resident of that state. This is true unless the particular state does not provide itself with jurisdiction through its own laws.

Do you have more questions about state residency and divorce?

The question of which state has jurisdiction over your divorce is an important one. To avoid potential filing errors, and to make sure you have considered all of the potential ramifications of filing in one state over another, you may want to investigate deeper into the matter of state jurisdiction and residency as it applies to your divorce process.

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Mackoy, Hernandez, Jones & Woods, LLP
9300 John Hickman Pkwy Suite 701
Frisco, TX 75035

Phone: 469-269-0134
Fax: 214-387-4910
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