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DIY Divorce Guide

Divorce Residency Requirements | Proving Residency for Divorce

Complete divorce guide with state requirements and laws.
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Most states require the Petitioner or Plaintiff to authenticate his or her residency. The party states that he or she complies with jurisdiction’s residency requirements when filing the initial divorce papers. When a party files the divorce papers, he or she may have to prove that residence for the required time according to the state statutes. The next step would be figuring out how to prove residency to file for divorce.

A few states in America that don’t have a residency or domicile requirement. The vast majority has very specific residency and domicile laws. At least one party to a marriage must have resided in the state for the requisite length of time, or the court can't enter a divorce judgment or decree. The residency requirements vary greatly --from immediate, to five weeks, to 60 days, to 90 days to one year.

Most courts accept the Petitioner’s or Plaintiff's sworn authentication through the sign documentation as proof of residency in the state. However, other documents or items -- a driver’s license, voter registration card, utility bills or a pay stub showing place of employment -- can be used to verify residency. Some states may also require an affidavit from a corroborating witness confirming, under oath, the spouse has met the residency requirements. Usually, the corroborating witness must be someone other than the either spouse in the case.

Having residency in a state simply means that one or the other spouse has been present there for a set period of time, as required by that state’s laws. Domicile is a more complicated and burdensome standard to meet than residency. Whereas residency only requires one or the other spouse to be present in a state, domicile means that one or the other spouse must have a permanent home in the state of filing for divorce. In deciding whether a spouse has established a domicile, courts look at factors including place of voting, employment, banking, children’s schools, auto registration, extended families, and the jurisdiction issuing the spouse’s driver’s license.

Domicile is more relevant when it comes state income tax, probate matters, and inheritance taxes.


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