by Maurice Giro, Esq.
When couples begin divorce discussions, it is not uncommon for spouses to be living in different states. This situation of residency raises two important questions: Where can the couple file for divorce, and which state’s law will apply to the divorce?
Generally speaking, a divorce case can be filed in the state in which at least one spouse resides. New Jersey courts require that the in-state spouse have lived in New Jersey for at least one year (other states have different minimum residency requirements for purposes of filing divorce proceedings). That said, in order for the case to move forward, the court needs to have personal jurisdiction over the defendant, or non-filing, spouse. This means the court must have proper authority over the non-filing spouse, such that its order of divorce will be fully binding on both parties.
In rare cases in which the spouses have no children, no real property, and are not requesting alimony, the court actually does not need personal jurisdiction. But for all other cases, the court must gain jurisdiction over the non-filing spouse through residency within the state, personal service within the state, or evidence of sufficient contacts between the non-filing spouse and the state. Once the court is satisfied it has personal jurisdiction over both spouses, absent an agreement to the contrary, it will almost always apply the law of its own state, which is also known as applying “the law of the forum.”
Contact Giro Attorneys at Law, LLP Today
The determinations necessary before you even reach the courthouse steps illustrate why having a knowledgeable divorce attorney is so important. If you are considering filing for divorce in New Jersey or New York, call Giro Attorneys at Law, LLP, today at (201) 255-4417 and arrange a consultation with an experienced attorney who will put your mind at ease.
Maurice Giro, Esq.
Giro, LLP, Attorneys At Law
90 Main Street, Ste. 102 • Hackensack, NJ, 07601
244 5th Ave, Ste. 200 • New York, NY, 10001
201-255-4417 • 201-210-5748