Most people in Florida do not have a choice of where to file for divorce. According to Florida Courts, spouses must file a petition for dissolution of marriage at the circuit court in their county of residence. One or the other of the spouses must have lived in the state for a minimum of six months before he or she can file this form.
However, the same is not true for service members or their spouses when filing for a military divorce. Military.com explains that spouses may have legal ties to many states, and therefore, they may have the option to choose where they file for divorce.
Commonly, military families move frequently, and they may not have lived in a location long enough to meet the residency requirements to file for divorce in that state (the six-month minimum is common in many states). Either spouse may initiate the divorce in the county where he or she currently lives, though, without having to meet the residency requirement.
If the couple does not want to file where they live, there are other considerations that may guide their choice. They may be able to establish residency in states where they do the following:
- Hold banking accounts
- Have a driver’s license and car title
- Own property
- Pay state and real estate taxes
- Qualify for in-state university tuition
The rules of divorce vary from state to state, so spouses should consider which state will best favor their circumstances. However, choosing a state where they do not currently reside may create challenges due to the time and expense of traveling to an alternate location.