All states require that the spouse filing for divorce be a resident of that state for a certain length of time. Being a resident means having a physical presence and the intent to remain indefinitely in the state.  However, you can work outside the state while establishing residency, as long as you actually live in the state where you’re trying to establish residency.  Many counties also have their own residency requirements. 

How Long Must I Be a Resident to Get a Divorce?

The answer to this question varies state by state, and many counties have their own rules as well.  Generally, states require spouses to be residents for either 6 months or a year before filing for divorce.  For example, Vermont, Texas and Pennsylvania require 6 months or 180 days of residency.  New York, Iowa and Connecticut require 1 year. A few states have shorter required periods – only 60 days of residency are required to file a divorce in Arkansas, Kansas and Wyoming. 

What if My Spouse Now Resides in a Different State Than I Do?

If you and your spouse now reside in different states, you both have the right to file for divorce in your current home states.  If you think that your spouse is going to file for divorce in another state, you may want to consider filing first, for your own convenience.  If your spouse does file in another state, you may be required to travel there for the divorce proceedings and to change child support and custody orders, as well as property settlement agreements.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Divorce?

Divorces can take very little time, or quite awhile.  This all depends on how much the two spouses can cooperate and come to mutually agreeable settlement terms.  Additionally, states have waiting periods between when a divorce is filed and when a divorce decree can be issued.  This waiting period is intended to give the spouses a fair amount of time to think about the divorce and the settlement they wish to negotiate.  Although the range varies from state to state, the waiting period is generally around 60 days.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Get a Divorce?

The court process for obtaining a divorce can be very confusing and stressful.  An experienced divorce lawyer can help you understand how the law in your state impacts your divorce.  A lawyer can also represent you in court if a dispute arises.