When involved in any family law action, planning is one of the most important considerations. While in some cases, planning is not always an option, it is important to at least have an understanding of the process that you are about to undertake.
Planning is especially important when considering a divorce when each spouse is present or lives in different states. Are you aware of the laws that may affect the distribution of your property, child support determination, or maintenance determination in the state in which you intend to file for divorce?; Are you aware of whether the court can even hear your entire divorce action in the state in which you intend to file for divorce?; Are you aware of any residence requirements of the state in which you intend to file for divorce?; Are you aware of the status of fault in the state in which you intend to file for divorce?- these along with a myriad of other procedural and substantive questions can arise merely because of the choice of the state in which you file for divorce. In some cases, the choice of the state in which you file your divorce may have disadvantageous or advantageous consequences.
Further, you may only be able to proceed with a portion of your divorce if you cannot locate the other spouse or have the other spouse served with the petition for dissolution (better known as the "divorce papers"). In these cases, a court could be prohibited by law from issuing a finding on issues affecting your life, such as maintenance and the division of marital property.
Finally, without the proper planning, you may find it simply difficult to obtain compliance from the other spouse with the divorce process or orders of the court. While there are measures that can be taken to make a spouse comply or to enforce some court orders, it is possible that with proper planning these difficulties can be minimized.
While not every divorce occurring between two spouses located in different states necessarily will result in problems, it is important that you adequately plan your divorce action to successfully bring your action to a complete and satisfactory resolution. As with any family law action, it is recommended that you consult an attorney before proceeding with any court action.