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Understand how jurisdiction factors into divorce

When a Florida marriage is in trouble, spouses need to make every effort to set aside their emotions and make decisions that are rational and practical. If divorce is on the horizon, there are a multitude of factors that can have significant impact on the final outcome. One of those factors is the jurisdiction in which the divorce will take place. Many people fail to recognize the power that lies in being able to select the jurisdiction.

In cases where both spouses reside in the same state, and where neither party owns property in another state, jurisdiction is not an issue. The divorce will most likely play out in the state where the couple is located. There are many instances, however, were spouses can select their jurisdiction. An example is found in cases where one spouse resides in one state, while the other is located in another state. This can occur due to employment needs, the need to care for family members in another state or when couples own property in multiple states.

Divorce law varies from one state to another, and there can be significant advantages to filing in a particular jurisdiction. For example, some states have laws that are more favorable toward receiving spousal support, while others may offer a child custody advantage. Property division is another issue that is controlled by state law, and where one jurisdiction could be a far more attractive venue than another.

For Florida spouses who have the possibility of filing in another jurisdiction, it is important to determine the best course of action well in advance of the filing timeframe. A family law attorney will be able to assess an individual's divorce needs, and can advise he or she on the best jurisdiction in which to file. As with so many divorce matters, this is an issue that is best dealt with early in the process, allowing an individual to make informed decisions that will guide the course of his or her divorce.

Source:, "6 Money Mistakes to Avoid When You're Getting a Divorce", Kelli B. Grant, Aug. 26, 2016

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