If One Party Has Moved Across State Lines, Can They File Divorce in Another State?
Generally, if a person just moved, they are only eligible to file in the state where they came from. Most states—including Kentucky and Indiana—have a six-month residency requirement, though there is some variation in the United States (ranging from three-month to one-year requirements). Many clients mistakenly believe they’re stuck having to wait six months after moving before they can file for a divorce.
Let’s say, for example, that a family has lived in Kentucky, but the mother moves to Indiana with the child after they separate. The couple would not be eligible to file in both Indiana and Kentucky because the mother has not lived in Indiana for the required six months. Both she and the father would have to file in Kentucky.
When families separate, we often have an issue regarding who does the filing on top of where they can file. At our consultations, we talk to people about where they’re eligible to file for divorce and who can do the filing so that nobody feels locked out of being able to file. They might simply have to return to their old state to handle the filing because they don’t yet meet the residency requirements for the new state.
What Is the Timeline of Events That Take Place Before a Divorce Is Finalized in Kentucky and Indiana?
There are generally three main phases in the divorce process. The first step encompasses the orientation phase and involves notifying all of the players involved in the case that a divorce is being filed. If we file on behalf of one of the spouses, then the other spouse has 20 days to either get an attorney or call us if it’s going to be an uncontested divorce.
Step two, which usually occurs between 20 to 40 days after filing, is the financial disclosure phase. In both states, the two parties are expected to exchange financial disclosure, unless they agree otherwise not to. They should list out any houses they own, their retirement accounts, and basic information involving their children (which party provides the health insurance, the cost of their child care, any medical needs, etc.).
Step three, the resolution phase, occurs around 60 days after filing. If both parties agree on what they own, what their arrangement will be, and what the situation will be with the kids, then the agreement can be prepared without going to court or mediation. This marks the 60-day point at which the parties can be divorced. However, if the parties don’t agree on an issue or we have to get appraisals done, we generally will move into mediation, where a good number of cases get resolved, or schedule a court date, where a judge will make decisions after being presented with evidence. Again, these phases are a general timeline for how a divorce proceeds.
Each case however is unique and does not have to fit this general mold. Contact our office if you would like to discuss divorce or the process as it may pertain to your case.
How Does It Impact a Divorce Case If One Party Moves to Another State Before or During a Divorce?
We see some situations where both parties move after they have filed for divorce. Maybe they were both in Kentucky at the time of filing but now have found better homes or have moved for school-related reasons to Indiana. One question that can come up is: will the divorce even be finalized in the state in which it started? The divorce case may follow the parties, either by their agreement or judge’s orders. The parties may have initially thought that one state’s laws would apply, when that’s not the case.
We talk to clients about the significance of moving. Sometimes, they might want to stay here to take advantage of this law before things get finalized; or if things are more advantageous on the other side of the river, we might encourage them to move. Until things get resolved in the resolution phase, a move can affect how things will get finalized, what calculations are run, and which state’s laws apply.
Even after the case is over, both states (like most states) require that you keep your address updated with the court and give formal notice to the judge and to your spouse about where you are moving. A lot of times, people will file divorce, sell their house, and move into a new home, but in doing so, they miss the requirement under the law that they have to file a formal notice and send it by certified mail to their spouse and to the judge. Most people know they need to send notice if they move in the future, but few expect they’re required to do so when their divorce isn’t even finalized. They think the rules don’t yet apply to them. We act as professional guides to help our clients stay in compliance.
For more information on Moving Across States During a Divorce, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (812) 302-0539 today.
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