I’m About to Move to a Different State. So, Where Should I File for Divorce?

woman signing a divorceDivorce is a difficult thing for anyone to go through. If your marriage is ending, and you want to take steps to officially dissolve it, then you should start planning immediately. The circumstances of your relationship and living conditions may be less than ideal. In fact, you may even need to move out-of-state in the middle of your divorce. Doing so is possible if you live in the State of Florida, but you must first get written legal permission from the Court if you there are minor children involved. If there are no minor children involved in your divorce, then the State of Florida will assume jurisdiction over the two parties involved in the divorce proceedings provided certain basic conditions are first met.  This will give the Florida court in which your divorce is filed the power to eventually enter a final divorce decree.

Before you pursue a divorce, you should hire the best divorce attorney you can find in Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, and Venice, Florida because he or she will have deep knowledge of the laws, processes, and proceedings that govern divorce in this area. Bradenton divorce lawyer Matthew Z. Martell will help you protect your interests during the divorce as you move to another state.

Established Jurisdiction

One of the first legal terms you will need to become familiar with establishing jurisdiction. All this really means is that the Florida courts have control over your case and can issue certain court orders for you and your spouse.

If the two of you have minor children, you cannot move more than fifty miles from your current residence and the other parent without their written legal permission. If your spouse agrees to this move, then you are allowed to do so.  But you must first inform the court by filing a Petition for Relocation of Minor Children, a written legal agreement allowing for this legal Relocation of Minor Children, and an Order Granting Petition for Relocation of Minor Children from the court. If the other parent does not agree to your proposed relocation, then the court will hold a trial on the relocation petition during, or oftentimes at the conclusion, of the divorce itself.

However, you should be warned: Judges and Magistrates have no tolerance for a parent that wants to move children out-of-state without obtaining the legal permission of the Court first. Eventually, there will be a hearing on your relocation case, but a judge is unlikely to endorse a long distance move that they think will negatively impact the children or the children’s relationship with the parent who is not moving. Technically, you can move out-of-state in the middle of a divorce without the court’s permission. But be advised that you will not be able to take your children with you, so usually it is not worth it.

The Best Place to File for Divorce

If you are married, lived with your spouse as man and wife while in Florida, lived in Florida for the last 6 months, and are a Florida resident, then you should file for divorce in this state. If you have resided in the State of Florida for only six (6) months, then you will have met the Florida residency requirement for divorce. This is usually much easier than moving to another state first and then waiting until you have met that state’s residency requirement before filing because most other state have longer residency requirements than six months.

If you move out of the state of Florida during your divorce, then Florida will have still have jurisdiction over your property and your marriage. In other words, your assigned Florida judge will still have the final say on all matters involving the distribution of your marital estate, alimony, child support, attorney’s fees and costs, parental responsibility, timesharing, disposition of the marital residence, etc.  So, moving away to another state in the middle of your divorce to essentially run away from your problems does not mean that your assigned Florida Judge in your divorce case does not still have the power to Order you to do things in your case, distribute property, order child support, order alimony, or order attorney fees and costs.

Finally, you can file an uncontested divorce which is commonly known as a “no-contest” divorce that does not take that long to finalize and then move quickly to another state.  In fact, in uncontested divorces it is normal that you have everything settled before the divorce is filed.  Therefore, it is possible if you are the Petitioner to leave the state as soon as your uncontested divorce is filed because no Final Hearing is required, and the Final Judgement of Dissolution of Marriage is allowed to be signed without a hearing by means of what is called Special Interrogatories.  These are the questions that your attorney would normally ask you at the Final Hearing.  However, instead of asking you them in person at a hearing in court, he puts the questions in writing, answers those questions for you, has you sign, date and notarize your Answers to Special Interrogatories, and then sends them to the Judge to review and file.

If you have questions about how jurisdiction may affect your divorce case, then you should speak to a highly rated divorce attorney in Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, or Venice, Florida to determine the best path forward. Please understand that the Court will not only have jurisdiction over your divorce, but it will have jurisdiction over your children as well. So, if you are the “custodial” parent, and the other parent refuses to agree to your proposed move more than 50 miles away, then you need to try to negotiate a Long-Distance Parenting Plan that gives both the “non-custodial” parent significant time with them as well as daily phone contact. You will then need to demonstrate the practicability and soundness of that Long-Distance Parenting Plan to the Court. Otherwise, the judge may deem it too disruptive to the life of your children and will not allow it.

If you have been pressed by circumstances to move out-of-state before, during or after your divorce, then you will need one of the best divorce lawyers in Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, and Venice, Florida who knows how to handle such relocation cases. If you are going through a divorce which also involves a relocation more than 50 miles away, then you should speak to the Divorce Attorney Matthew Z. Martell.  We offer a 30-minute free initial phone consultation, and we are here to help you with this difficult legal situation.

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The Law Offices of Matthew Z. Martell located in Lakewood Ranch and Sarasota Florida provides legal services to the following areas: Sarasota, Osprey, Siesta Key, Bird Key, Lido Key, Longboat Key, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, Anna Maria Island, Holmes Beach, Palmetto, Ellenton, Parrish, Venice, South Venice, Manasota Key, Englewood, Casey Key, Nokomis and all areas of Sarasota County and Manatee County. Let us help you today.

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