I you were married in one state but moved to another, in which state do you file for divorce?

UPDATED: Jan 1, 2012

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I you were married in one state but moved to another, in which state do you file for divorce?

My son-in-law is an ex-Marine and walked out on my daughter. This was based on his desire for other women, proven through his several counts of infidelity and one count of domestic violence. We are working toward a friendly divorce but my daughter is a full-time student and needs alimony. They were married for 3 years.

Asked on January 1, 2012 under Family Law, Massachusetts


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your daughter and her situation.  The general rule is that you file for divorce in the state in which you reside at the time.  You write from Massachusetts here which is where I am assuming that ou live.  So you would file in Massachusetts.  But each state has a resident requirement, ymeaning that you need to have lived there for a certain period of time before you can file for divorce.  The specific county you live in may also have such a requirement.  Again, I will use Massachusetts as an example.  Here is the rule:

One of the spouses must be a resident of the state of Massachusetts if the grounds for divorce occurred in Massachusetts. If the grounds for divorce occurred outside the state of Massachusetts then one spouse must be a resident of the state for at least 1 year.

Actions for divorce shall be filed, heard and determined in the probate court, held for the county where one of the parties lives, except that if either party still resides in the county where the parties last lived together, the action shall be heard and determined in a court for that county. In the event of hardship or inconvenience to either party, the court having jurisdiction may transfer such action for hearing to a court in a county in which such party resides. (Massachusetts General Laws - Chapter 208 - Sections: 4,5 & 6)

Not following the rule can result in dismissal of the case.  Good luck.

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