Does Florida have a Residency Requirement for Divorce?

If one or both spouse’s in a marriage wish to get a divorce, they must request that a family court legally dissolve their marriage. However, you cannot walk into just any court and expect to be granted a divorce. Instead, courts have specific requirements that must be met in order to preside over your divorce proceeding.

One specific requirement is that a court must have jurisdiction over your case. “Jurisdiction” means that the court has the authority to make a legal judgment on a certain matter. In order for the court to have proper jurisdiction to enter a valid judgment, there are several necessary factors depending on the type of case you have. One of those factors in a Florida divorce case is residency of at least one spouse within the state for a certain period of time prior to the case.

How long must I live in Florida?

Florida law § 61.021 requires that one or both spouses must have resided in Florida for at least six months prior to filing for divorce. You must prove this residency before a court can rightfully hear your case. According to decisions by the Court of Appeals in Florida, a court must make a finding of residency based on evidence presented or should dismiss the case.

What constitutes residency?

Residency can be established by proving two factors: 1) that you were actually physically present in the state of Florida and 2) that you had the intention during that time to make Florida your primary residence. In order to be considered actually physically present, it does not mean that you are unable to travel outside the state at all during the six month period of time. However, simply vacationing in Florida for sporadic periods of time or maintaining vacation property will not satisfy the residency.

The following can be used as proof that you intended to make Florida your permanent home:

  • Testimony by you of your intentions;
  • Signing a lease or purchasing a home;
  • Obtaining permanent employment in Florida;
  • Joining a church, country club, or other social organizations in Florida;
  • Using your Florida address for official matters;
  • Obtaining a Florida driver’s license or auto registration; and
  • Filing for state taxes in Florida.

These are only some examples of possible evidence that a court may consider, as courts will weigh the circumstances in each individual case to decide whether it has jurisdiction in a divorce case.

Contact an Experienced Boca Raton Divorce Attorney for Assistance

If you wish to seek a divorce in the state of Florida and are unsure if you meet the residency requirements, it is important to consult with an experienced Boca Raton divorce lawyer as soon as possible to determine how you may meet the jurisdictional requirements to start divorce proceedings. An attorney can help you prove your residency in court and can guide you through every other step of your divorce case. Please do not hesitate to call the law office of experienced attorney Alan R. Burton today for a free consultation.