Understanding the Residency Requirements for a Florida Divorce

When considering a divorce, one of the last questions that might occur to you is whether you are personally allowed to get divorced in the state of Florida. State courts are typically only willing to handle cases that directly affect residents of their state. This is because states do not want to waste money on court proceedings that have no impact in their state and also because states want to respect the authority of other states to handle their own matters. When it comes to divorce, Florida has imposed a residency requirement. If the requirements are met, a Florida court may have jurisdiction over the matter, meaning a couple can seek a divorce in Florida.

In order to be allowed to seek a divorce from Florida’s family law courts, at least one of the spouses must typically have been a resident of the state for the entire six-month period immediately before the divorce was filed. There is no requirement that both spouses be Florida residents. This means that someone can leave their spouse, move to Florida alone, and then seek a divorce in Florida’s courts after six months.

Some cases aren’t quite this clear-cut, however. For example, if you are temporarily outside the state of Florida, a judge will have to make a determination about whether you are a resident of Florida. While making this decision, a court will try to determine whether you plan to return to the state. If you don’t plan on coming back, the state may not have a sufficient interest in your case to allow you to access its courts.

For those in the military, a deployment or stationing outside of the state does not change your residency. If you were a resident at the time of deployment, you will likely be able to seek a divorce from a Florida court.

For a better understanding of how a divorce works when you have recently moved to Florida or when your spouse lives in a different state, contact the Tampa Bay-area family law attorneys at the Law Offices of K. Dean Kantaras, P.A.