Some couples are ready to divorce right away, but the majority of couples take their time to decide whether divorce is really their best option. In fact, it's not uncommon for spouses to live apart for several years with or without a formal separation agreement before they actually file for divorce. In the meantime, spouses may experience changes in their personal and professional lives that make it necessary for them to move out of state. For example, a spouse may receive a better job offer or decide to pursue another career opportunity. He or she may be deployed overseas if they are active members of the US military. There are also spouses who move back to New Jersey in order to be close to family and friends as they contemplate the prospect of starting over.
When at least one of the spouses decides to file for divorce, the question arises over where the complaint should be filed. The residency requirements depend on your state, so you will need to research the laws ahead of time. To file in New Jersey, you will need to show that you have been a New Jersey resident for the past 12 months. Thus, if you just moved back to New Jersey, you will need to wait until you reach the 12-month mark, or file in the state you were previously living in, as long as you meet its residency requirements.
Although filing in the jurisdiction you're living in seems like the most convenient option, there are legitimate reasons for filing out of state. For example, overseas military members are often deployed for one or more years at a time. If their spouse is racking up high amounts of debt, or doing things that put their children in danger, it's understandable that they would want to file for divorce as soon as possible. Rather than deal with another country's laws, it may be easier for that individual to discuss the available options with a New Jersey divorce attorney. International and military spouses may be granted the right to have a lawyer file on their behalf, and to represent them at court hearings as necessary.
Your situation may not be as complex, but you should still speak to an attorney about your best course of action. Certain legal actions, such as serving an out of state spouse with divorce papers, can be rather complicated, especially if you are unable to locate your spouse. Each state also has specific laws on how divorce papers need to be served, as well as the procedures you'll need to take if your spouse refuse to be served. For more details on how to file an out of state divorce, please speak with the family law attorneys of Villani & DeLuca, P.C. Our lawyers include mediators, collaborative divorce lawyers and matrimonial law attorneys, who have extensive experience with complex divorce filings. They look forward to advising you of all your available divorce options during a free initial consultation.