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One of the first things anyone considering divorce needs to consider is "what is the proper location for my divorce to be filed?"  Under Chapter 61 of the Florida statutes, either you or your spouse must have been a resident of the State of Florida for at least six months prior to the filing for divorce or no Florida court has jurisdiction.  The key is the date of the filing of the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.  It does not matter that the case drags on and by the time the Court hears the matter, six months have passed, the Court's ability to grant the divorce is determined before the initial filing.  So before filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage make sure that one of the parties can show that they have been a resident for over six months or you will be wasting your time and money.

Unfortunately, residency does not fully establish where you should file your case.   Because not only must one of the parties meet the statutory residence requirement, you must determine the correct Judicial Circuit to file in.  According to Florida Statute ยง 47.011 actions shall be brought "in the county where the defendant resides, where the cause of action accrued, or where the property in litigation is located."  This sometimes can make things difficult for a spouse who moves out of the county where the parties last lived together as husband and wife.  In those situations, if the spouse who moves files for divorce in his or her new county, they may end up wasting time and legal fees when the other party files a motion to dismiss or transfer the action back to the original county.

Taking the time to think about where the case should be filed, can also help you determine where you should to look for an attorney.  Hiring local counsel can reduce legal fees by decreasing costs for travel and ensure that you are getting legal advice from someone who regularly appears in front of the judge who hears family law matters.


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Tannenbaum Scro, P.L.
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