When a married couple breaks up and is on the path to divorce, usually one spouse will move out of the house — sometimes far away. In some cases, this raises issues of out of state divorce, especially in places like Richmond and other parts of Virginia that are close to Maryland, Washington D.C., and other border states.
Are you allowed to file for divorce in Virginia?
The first thing to determine is if each spouse has met the residency requirements for the states in which they currently live. Every state has its own rules for who has established residency and thus has the right to file for divorce there. In Virginia, you must have lived in the Commonwealth for at least six months before they are allowed to initiate divorce in one of its courts.
If both you and your spouse have established residency in different states, either of you can file for divorce in either state. Because each state has different laws regarding the division of property and other divorce matters, this gives you an opportunity to choose to divorce in the state that gives you the best advantage. At the same time, litigating a divorce in another state can be inconvenient. If your ex lives in, say, California, finding an attorney to represent you and potentially making several trips back and forth won’t be easy.
Timing can be key
Which state will have jurisdiction over your divorce usually depends on where the divorce was filed. Sometimes, there is a race between the exes to file for divorce. It pays to consult a divorce attorney, such as one of ours at Bowen Ten Long & Bal, PC, as soon as you can, so you can work as a team to strategize when and where to begin divorce proceedings.