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Law Offices of Stephen K. Miller, P.A
 

I live in Florida and want a divorce, but my spouse lives in another state. Where can I get divorced?

Do you want to move forward with a divorce or other family law matter but you are confused as to where (i.e. in what state) you can proceed? There are many jurisdictional considerations that will determine where you can go forward with a family law matter.

For example, one consideration is subject matter jurisdiction in a divorce. Subject matter jurisdiction determines whether or not Florida has jurisdiction to proceed with a dissolution of marriage case. Subject matter jurisdiction is present if either party has resided in Florida for at least six (6) months before a divorce is filed. However, just because you can file for divorce in Florida, doesn’t necessarily mean that all related issues can be resolved in this state too—assuming that your spouse and/or children reside elsewhere.

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) states that an initial child custody determination should be made in the state where the children last resided continuously for six (6) months. Therefore, it is possible that one of the parties resided in Florida for six (6) months which would establish authority over the dissolution of marriage but the children resided elsewhere so Florida does not have authority over the child custody issues.

There is also the issue of personal jurisdiction. If personal jurisdiction (i.e. jurisdiction over the person) is not present in a certain case, it may not be possible to resolve some issues that require personal jurisdiction, such as alimony or child support.

It is important that you understand the jurisdictional requirements before you initiate a case. If a case is initiated in the wrong jurisdiction, it is possible that any order entered may be void (such as if an order is entered without subject matter jurisdiction). Jurisdictional issues are yet another reason why parties in family law matters should not try to proceed without the guidance of an experienced family law attorney.

In addition to divorce matters, our firm also takes on cases involving custody battles, relocation issues, domestic violence injunctions, will and probate, criminal defense, personal injury, medical malpractice, and wrongful death cases. While our main office is in Gainesville, we also handle family law matters through our satellite offices in Ocala, Cheifland, Lake City, and Palatka.

For help with your legal issue, contact the Law Offices of Stephen K. Miller for a free phone consultation at (866) 496-8752 or via email at Info@ForYourLaw.com

BY: Stephanie N. Mack, Board Certified Marital & Family Law Attorney

October 31, 2012
 
 
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(Alachua County)

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