Out of State Divorce: Your Options

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Florida is predictable in divorce outcomes because they have no requirements as far as legal separation. This makes Florida a nice option for people who want an out of state divorce. Unfortunately, there are limitations as far as Florida jurisdiction goes when entering all or part of a divorce, which occurred out of state. Some of these limitations include:

Minimum Residency Requirement

Going by Florida law, either the husband or the wife must have lived in the state for six consecutive months before filing a divorce petition. That person must show proof of residency by showing a Florida drivers license or by witness testimony; this is a court requirement. A petitioner who lives outside of Florida but whose spouse lives inside Florida may still petition here. Residency does however, give the court the authority to enter the divorce, itself. It does depend on the circumstances as to whether the court has jurisdiction to perform other functions.

Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA)

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act is a requirement for every state in the U.S. to comply with. It is the jurisdiction that gives the court authority to establish parenting plans, which include custody and timesharing. According to the UCCJEA, all children of a divorce must have lived in a state for six months consecutively for the state to claim “home-state” authority. Of course, there are emergency exceptions to this rule. If a petitioner who has children not living in Florida but is seeking a divorce in Florida, the courts may not have jurisdictional authority over them. Since it is recommended that these types of proceedings are avoided, it is best for the children to file for divorce within the “home-state” of the children.

Child Support and Alimony

The authorities of child support and the establishment of a parenting plan are symbiotic, due in part because the guidelines for child support depends on the time sharing plan. In Florida, alimony depends on several factors including finances and length of the marriage so, theoretically, the obligation can, in fact be imposed upon a non resident. The enforcement of both forms of support does depend upon residency because the jurisdiction of Florida ends at its borders. It is however, important to remember that any orders entered in Florida must be abided by in all states.

Equitable Distribution

As long as the real estate in question is in Florida, the Florida courts can force the sale but if the real estate is located in another state, it must be given, in its entirety to either party.

It is essential for you to know that a divorce is only granted upon the completion of all issues. Courts usually go by the acronym P.E.A.C.E. This means that 1 - Parenting issues must be determined. 2 - Equitable distribution must be achieved. 3 - Alimony must be decided. 4 - Child support has to be awarded and 5 - Everything else, which includes attorney fees and court cost. Because of these relationships, the best thing you can do for yourself and your children is to get your divorce in the “home-state” of your children. This will keep you from hiring multiple lawyers, going to multiple proceedings, paying more money and taking up more court time.

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