Understanding Legal Challenges

Why Some People Divorce Out Of State

You don't have to divorce in your current states. In some cases, circumstances may allow you and even favor an out-of-court divorce. Here are some of the reasons an out-of-court divorce may be attractive.

Residency Requirements

Most states have residency requirements that you have to meet before you can divorce in the state. The residency requirements require either of you to have lived in the state for a minimum period before filing for divorce. Therefore, if you have recently moved from your home state, you might have to go back to your former state for your divorce.

For example, you can't divorce in New York if neither you nor your spouse has lived in the state for at least one year. Therefore, if both of you moved from Maryland to New York four months ago, you have to go back to New York for your divorce.

Associated Expenses

Even if you meet the residency requirements of your state, you may elect to get an out-of-state divorce to minimize the expenses. Say you live in Colorado, but your spouse lives in Kansas with the kids (minors), and you have had the arrangement for years. In such a case, you are eligible to divorce in either state.

However, you may elect to divorce in Kansas so that your spouse doesn't have to arrange for childcare or travel with the kids whenever you have to meet or make court appearances. It would be cheaper for you to go where the kids are than for your family to come to you.

Favorable Laws

Lastly, you may also decide to divorce out to take advantage of the other state's favorable (from your point of view) family laws. Obviously, this choice only exists if you qualify to divorce in that state. Here are some of the cases where other states may have favorable laws compared to your state.

Child Support

Child support calculations take different angles depending on your state. Most states use one of the three models: the Income Shares Model, the Percentage of Income Model, and the Melson Formula Model. These models have slight differences. An out-of-state divorce may allow you to go with the model you like.


If alimony is important to you, then you may also take advantage of favorable alimony laws in another state. For example, most states consider whether the receiving spouse has custody of the children, while some states disregard the custodial status.

Child Custody

In most states, the court considers the wishes of the child when determining custody. However, the ages at which courts put great emphasis on children's wishes vary by state; it can be as low as 11 or as high as 16. 

Reach out to a company like Dionisio Law to learn more.