Divorce and The Residency Requirement

By Lindsay B. Haber 

Screen Shot 2018-12-12 at 5.34.45 PMWhen you file for a divorce in Florida, either you or your spouse must have been a resident of this fine state for the last six (6) months. But why is this?

Well, Florida, just like many other states, has a compelling interest to avoid interference by another state that may have ties to either you or your spouse (and kids) or your assets and liabilities.

Take, for example, a Wife who wants to file for divorce. She and her husband live together in Virginia where they own a marital residence and her husband operates his own dental practice. This Wife tells her husband she wants a divorce on Monday, flies to her parents in Florida on Tuesday, and files for divorce in Florida on Wednesday. I think we can all agree that with this example Florida is not the state for this divorce. Unless and until this Wife truly creates her own residency in Florida, the Virginia Courts would be deemed the state to help this family through their dissolution of marriage.

So what would it take for this Wife in the example above to meet Florida’s six (6) month residency requirement? While Florida Courts will look to both law and fact to make this determination, here are a few examples of when Florida Courts have found the residency requirement met when living in Florida for six months:

A PARTY LIVED IN FLORIDA FOR SIX MONTHS AND:
  • Obtained a Florida License;
  • Obtained a Florida Voter registration card;
  • Registered a Florida Automobile tag;
  • Obtained employment in Florida;
  • Had utility bills in that person’s name;
  • Had minor children living with you and attending school in Florida; and/or
  • Claimed Homestead exemption.
Now, this list is just a sample and is not definitive of whether or not a Court will find that this Wife in the example above, or you for that matter, have met the residency requirement after six months in Florida. For more information regarding the Florida Residency Requirement or to address your family law matters, please contact Kluger Kaplan.