Residency Requirements When Filing for Divorce in Florida
In order to file for divorce in Florida, a couple must meet certain residency requirements. Those who fail to fulfill these requirements could end up delaying their divorce indefinitely, so if you and your spouse have decided to legally end your marriage, you should contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer who can walk you through the filing process.
Six Month Residency Requirement
Only couples who meet specific residency requirements and so can prove that a certain jurisdiction has the authority to grant the dissolution of their marriage, can actually obtain a divorce in Florida. For instance, petitioners can only file for divorce in Florida if they can prove that they have lived in the state for at least six months prior to filing their divorce petition.
What Qualifies as Residency?
Residency can be established by proving that:
- The petitioner was physically present in the state of Florida for the prior six months; and
- The petitioner intended to make Florida his or her primary residence during that time.
Fortunately, a person can still be considered physically present in the state even if he or she traveled outside of Florida during the six months in question. Visiting Florida for sporadic periods of time, on the other hand, is not usually enough to satisfy the residency requirement.
To ensure that the residency requirement has been fulfilled, family law courts will usually ask to see the date of issuance on the parties’ driver’s licenses. A driver’s license, however, is not the only way to provide proof of jurisdiction, as divorcing parties also have the option of asking a corroborating witness to affirm to the court, under oath, that he or she has personal knowledge of the petitioner’s status as a resident of the state for the past six months. Other forms of evidence that can be used to prove intent to make Florida a permanent home include:
- Personal testimony;
- Signing a lease or rental agreement or purchasing a home;
- Obtaining permanent employment;
- Joining a social organization in the community;
- Using a Florida address for official business, as well as personal matters;
- Filing for state taxes;
- Registering one’s vehicle in Florida; and
- Obtaining a state driver’s license.
When a person is unable to provide convincing evidence that he or she has lived in Florida for the requisite amount of time, a judge will not move forward with a divorce case and will only grant relief in an emergency and on a temporary basis.
Contact an Experienced Florida Divorce Lawyer for Help
Filing for divorce in the wrong court can have serious repercussions for the parties involved, including the indefinite delay of the dissolution of the marriage. To ensure that you are familiar with the residency requirements in Florida divorce cases, please contact dedicated divorce lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. today. We can be reached at our office by phone at 954-945-7591 or via online message. And remember, initial consultations are offered free of charge, so don’t hesitate to call or contact us online at your earliest convenience.