Legal Requirements for Divorce

There are a few legal requirements which must be met to file for a divorce in most states.

Under most state laws, a divorce (or "dissolution") action must be filed and decided in court. Many states have a "no-fault divorce" policy. In other words, these courts are not concerned about which spouse was wrong or guilty of marital misconduct.

There are a few legal requirements which must be met to file for a divorce in most states:

  1. Residency: The spouse filing for the divorce must have resided in the state for certain time (oftentimes at least 6 months prior to filing the action, and at least 3 months in the county where the action will be filed).
  2. Waiting Period: There is a waiting period that marks the date the divorce becomes final and the parties are free to remarry. This waiting period is anywhere from 0 to 12 months (on average 6 months) plus one day from the date the papers are filed in court.
  3. Legal Grounds: There are generally two legal grounds for getting a divorce. 1. Irreconcilable differences and 2. Incurable insanity. "Irreconcilable difference" simply means that the parties have marital difficulties which cannot be reconciled, and have led to the permanent breakdown of the marriage.
  4. Jurisdictional Requirement: An action for divorce must be filed in the proper court. The correct court will be located in the county where either the wife or husband has resided for at least 3 months prior to filing for divorce.

See this overview of the process for more on what to expect in a divorce.

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