Filing for divorce – legal requirements

divorce requirements
photo credit: DonkeyHotey

Most jurisdictions state that a divorce (or “dissolution”) action must be filed and decided in court. The majority of states have a “no-fault” divorce policy. This means that the courts do not really care to investigate whether a spouse is wrong or guilty of marital misconduct.

However there are a couple of legal requirements that have to be met in order to file a divorce petition. These are:

  • Residency: The party that is filing the divorce papers must have resided in the state for a certain amount of time (at least 6 months prior to filing the petition, and at least 3 months in the county where the petition is filed)
  • Waiting Period: Before a divorce is marked as final and the parties can remarry, a period of time must pass. This waiting period can be anywhere from being immediate to taking as long as 12 months (average being 6 months) plus one day from the date that the action has been filed in court.
  • Legal Grounds: In most divorce cases, there are two legal grounds for getting a divorce: the first one is “irreconcilable differences” and the other one is “incurable insanity”. “Irreconcilable differences” simply means that the spouses have differences and difficulties which cannot be reconciled which have led to a serious breakdown in the relationship.
  • Jurisdictional Requirement: A divorce petition must be filed in the proper court. The correct court is the one which is located in the county where at least one of the spouses has resided for at least 3 months prior to filing for divorce.

We have previously covered the steps of the divorce process.