How Does A Divorce Work When The Spouses Live In Different States?

Getting a divorce can be complicated, especially when spouses live in different states. Just as you only get married in one state, you also only get divorced in one state. Moreover, divorces involve property division, support orders, decisions about parenting time, and where any children should live—additional added complications.

Jurisdiction over Property

Illinois requires that a party seeking a divorce has lived in the state for at least 90 days before filing. This residency period gives the court jurisdiction to hear the divorce case and to dissolve the marriage. Part of that jurisdiction also relates to the authority to make rulings about the marital property, even if not all of the property is located in Illinois.

If one of the parties has not been in Illinois for at least 90 days, the divorce either needs to be filed in another state or the party wanting to file needs to wait until he or she meets the residency requirement.

Cases can become complicated if both spouses file for divorce on the same day in different states. Only one state can properly hear the divorce case, and the two sides will have to work out which state should hear the case.

Jurisdiction over Custody and Parenting Time

Issues involving children living in different states create a different kind of problem. Typically, the state that the child resides in will have jurisdiction to make any rulings over custody, parenting time and support. However, Illinois has signed onto the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), which is a law that tries to settle disputes of where child custody matters should be heard when the child lives in a different state from one of the parents.

This law has provisions that work to prevent a parent from simply taking a child out of state to avoid child custody issues. Often, two courts will have custody proceedings underway in different states. The UCCJEA tells judges which court should have jurisdiction over the case.

If you are involved in a complex divorce or custody dispute, please contact a dedicated DuPage County family law attorney with experience dealing with complex family law issues. Call Sullivan Taylor & Gumina, P.C. at 630-665-7676 to schedule your consultation today.