When contemplating divorce, many people are not sure what state they should file in. Often, couples separate before choosing to divorce. Some may even relocate to another state. It is important for anyone considering filing for divorce to understand the jurisdiction laws in their state as a petition filed in the wrong state will be rejected by the court. Divorce law also varies from state to state and the state you file in could have a big impact on your results.
If you are thinking about divorcing in New Hampshire, it is important that all parties speak with a divorce attorney in order to make sure that they understand their options and file the divorce correctly. It is also important that divorcing parties consider alternative divorce settlement options such as Collaborative Divorce. Collaborative Divorce is a way for parties to work together to reach a settlement and avoid the time and expense of preparing for court.
Where to File for Divorce
Many people think that they must file for divorce in the same state that they were married. This is not true and, in fact, many states only allow for a divorce to take place in their courts if one party is a resident. This is called a residency requirement and New Hampshire law does have very specific divorce laws pertaining to residency. In New Hampshire, RSA 458:5 states that a court has jurisdiction to grant a divorce in the State only if one of the following are true:
- Both parties were living in the state when the grounds for divorce occurred
- The person filing lives in the state and their spouse was “personally served with process within the state.”
- The person filing for divorce lived in the state for one year or more before the time when the grounds for divorce occurred
Additionally, RSA 458:6 states that:
Jurisdiction of the cause for divorce exists when it wholly arose or accrued while the plaintiff was domiciled in the state, and not otherwise.
If you would like to file for divorce in New Hampshire but do not meet the requirements, you have several options. One option is to see if your spouse meets the requirements and, if so, have them file the initial paperwork. You can also speak to a New Hampshire divorce lawyer to see if you have any other options.
There are benefits to filing in certain states, depending on the laws of that state. In an article published on Forbes.com, the author, financial divorce strategist Jeff Landers, explains one reason why it is important what state your divorce in:
Laws governing virtually all aspects of the divorce process vary significantly from one state to another. Many states have passed severe limitations on the amount and duration of alimony that judges can award.
He goes on to say that sometimes one spouse may choose to relocate to a state with divorce laws that are more beneficial to their side during a separation. Many states only require a person to have established residence for only 6 months before a person can file for divorce. That is why you should always speak to a divorce attorney as soon as you begin to consider a divorce.