Basic Divorce Residency Requirements in Your State

Learn all about residency requirements to file for divorce in every state, including whether one or both spouses must live there, for how long, and what being a resident really means.

By , Legal Editor

Although you can usually get married in anywhere in the U.S., no matter where you live, that's not true in the case of divorce. All states have residency requirements that you must meet before you may get a divorce in their courts. Usually—but not always—you or your spouse must have lived in the state for a certain period of time just before you file the divorce papers. But several states have their own twists on the basic rules.

Divorce residency requirements were typically meant to prevent "forum shopping," or filing for divorce in a state where you don't normally live in order to take advantage of laws that might be more favorable to you. But these requirements may also impact spouses who've recently moved to another state, as part of the process of separating, and would prefer to have their divorce case proceed in the courts where they currently live. Residency can also be complicated for couples who own property in different states (or countries) and spend time in both places.

What Does Being a "Resident" Mean When You're Filing for Divorce?

State laws use different terms when they're describing the divorce residency requirements. They might say that spouses must be actual or "bona fide" state residents, or they might specify that spouses must have their "domicile" in the state.

These terms can have slightly different meanings in different contexts. Generally, your residence is the place where you live for a certain period of time, while domicile is the place you consider your permanent home—where you plan to return if you're temporarily living or visiting somewhere else. You can have more than one residence at a time (think vacation homes), but you can only have one domicile at a time.

In the context of divorce, however, courts in most states have held that even when the laws use terms like resident or residency, they essentially mean the same as domicile. In other words, in order to meet the residency requirement in the vast majority of states, you generally must:

  • be living and present in the state, and
  • consider it your permanent home—that is, the place where you plan to stay indefinitely.

Of course, there are exceptions to this general rule. The clearest outlier is Nevada (as discussed below). Physical presence in Nevada for six weeks is enough to meet the residency requirement, even if your permanent home is in another state.

Many courts have held that an immigrant who doesn't have permanent legal resident status in the U.S. may still be considered a resident of a state for purposes of the divorce residency requirements. (For example, see Padron v. Padron, 641 S.E.2d 542 (Ga. Sup. Ct. 2007).)

When Your Spouse or Child Lives Out of State: Residency Requirements vs. Personal Jurisdiction

When you meet the residency requirement to get a divorce, that means that a court in your state has jurisdiction, or legal authority, to end your marriage by issuing a divorce judgment or decree. In legalese, this authority is called "subject matter jurisdiction." But there's another kind of jurisdiction as well: personal jurisdiction. Basically, a court must have personal jurisdiction over someone before it may issue orders affecting that person.

What does this mean in the context of divorce? Say that you've separated from your spouse, moved to another state, and filed for divorce in that state after you've met its residency requirements. But your spouse might never have lived in that state or owned property there. Depending on the state's rules for personal jurisdiction—and actions your spouse takes—that could mean that the court won't be able to divide your marital property in the divorce or order your spouse to pay your alimony.

Also, if your children haven't lived with you in the new state for at least six months, the judge might not have jurisdiction to issue child custody orders.

Requirements for personal jurisdiction are complicated. And in some situations, it might not even be clear whether you meet a state's residency requirements. If you're planning on filing for divorce in a state where you and your spouse haven't been living together, you should speak with a lawyer to learn how the rules would apply in your situation.

State Residency Requirements for Divorce

Click on your state in the list below to learn more about the residency requirements where you plan to file for divorce.

Alabama

You may file for divorce in Alabama as long as your spouse (the "defendant") is currently a state resident, whether you live in the state or not. Otherwise, you'll have to prove that you've resided in Alabama for at least six months just before you file your divorce papers. (Ala. Code § 30-2-5 (2023).)

Alaska

You may file for divorce in Alaska if your spouse is currently a state resident or you have a domicile in the state when you file your divorce papers. (Alaska Stat. § 25.24.090 (2023); Perito v. Perito, 756 P.2d 895 (Alaska Sup. Ct. 1988).)

Arizona

Before you may file for divorce in Arizona, either you or your spouse must have had a domicile in the state, or been stationed there in the military, for at least 90 days. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 25-312 (2023).)

Arkansas

Either you or your spouse must have had a residence or domicile in Arkansas for at least 60 days just before you file for divorce in the state. Also, one of you must have lived in the state for at least three months by the time the judge grants your final divorce. (Ark. Stat. § 9-12-307 (2023); Adams v. Adams, 432 S.W.3d 49 (Ark. Ct. App. 2014).)

California

You must meet two different residency requirements in order to get a divorce in California. During the period just before you start the divorce process, you or your spouse must have been a resident:

  • of California for six months, and
  • of the county where you file for divorce for three months.

Same-sex couples who married in California but no longer live there may also get a divorce in the state if neither of them lives in a jurisdiction (such as a state, territory, or country) that will grant them a divorce, usually because its laws don't recognize their marriage as being valid. (Cal. Fam. Code § 2320 (2023).)

Colorado

In order to get a Colorado divorce, either you or your spouse must have been domiciled in the state for at least 91 days just before you filed your divorce papers. (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 14-10-106 (2023).)

Connecticut

You may file for a Connecticut divorce as long as you or your spouse have established residence in the state as of the filing date. But you must also meet one of the following additional residency requirements before you may get your final divorce:

  • either spouse has been a Connecticut resident for least 12 months either before you filed the initial divorce papers or before the date of your divorce decree
  • either spouse had a domicile in Connecticut when you married, and that spouse returned to the state (with the intention of staying) before filing for divorce, or
  • the cause for your divorce happened after either spouse moved to Connecticut.

(Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46b-44 (2023).)

Delaware

In order to get a divorce in Delaware, either spouse must have actually resided in the state (or been stationed there in the military) for at least six continuous months just before one of them filed the divorce papers.

Nonresident same-sex couples may also get divorced in Delaware if they were married in the state and currently live in a jurisdiction that won't grant them a divorce. (Del. Code tit. 13, § 1504 (2023).)

District of Columbia

Either spouse must have been a bona fide resident in the district for at least six months just before one of them files for divorce in the District of Columbia. (D.C. Code § 16-902 (2023).)

Florida

Just before you file for divorce in Florida, you or your spouse must have resided in Florida for at least six months. At the final hearing in your case, you'll need to provide corroborating evidence that you met this residency requirement, such as

  • a valid Florida driver's license or identification card
  • a Florida voter registration card, or
  • testimony or an affidavit from someone (other than your spouse) who will swear to having personal knowledge that you or your spouse lived in the state for the required amount of time.

(Fla. Stat. §§ 61.021, 61.052(2) (2023).)

Georgia

You may get a divorce in Georgia if:

  • either you or your spouse has been a state resident for at least six months just before you file your divorce papers, or
  • you lived for at least the previous year on a U.S. army post or military reservation in the state, and you file for divorce in an adjacent county.

(Ga. Code § 19-5-2 (2023).)

Idaho

In order to get a divorce in Idaho, the spouse who filed the divorce papers (the "plaintiff") must have been a resident of the state for the previous six weeks. (Idaho Code § 32-701 (2023).)

Illinois

If you want to get a divorce in Illinois, either you or your spouse must have been a resident of the state (or must have been stationed in the military there) for 90 days just before you file your divorce papers. (750 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 5/401(a) (2023).)

Indiana

Before you file for divorce in Indiana, you or your spouse must have been a resident (or stationed in the military):

  • of Indiana for the previous six months, and
  • of the county where you file the divorce petition for the previous three months.

(Ind. Code § 31-15-2-6 (2023).)

Kansas

You may get a divorce in Kansas if either you or your spouse was a state resident for 60 days just before you filed your divorce petition. You may also meet the residency requirement if you were stationed or resided at a military post in Kansas for that 60-day period. (Kan. Stat. § 23-2703 (2023).)

Kentucky

Before you file for divorce in Kentucky, you or your spouse must have resided in the state (or been stationed there while serving in the military) for the previous 180 days. (Ky. Rev. Stat. § 43.140 (2023).)

Louisiana

You may get a divorce in Louisiana if either you or your spouse is domiciled in the state when you file the divorce papers. The court will presume that a spouse is domiciled in Louisiana if they've established and maintained a residence in the state for six months. (La. Code Civ. Proc. art. 10 (2023).) But either spouse could present evidence to counter (or "rebut") that presumption or to prove that they are currently domiciled in Louisiana, even if they haven't resided there for six months.

Maine

You may file for divorce in Maine if:

  • your spouse is currently a Maine resident
  • you've been a Maine resident for at least six months just before you file your divorce papers, or
  • you're currently a Maine resident, and either you were married in the state or you resided in the state with your spouse when the cause of your divorce arose.

(Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 19-A, § 901 (1) (2023).)

Massachusetts

There are two ways of meeting the residency requirements for divorce in Massachusetts, depending on where the cause of the divorce occurred:

  • If it happened in Massachusetts, the plaintiff (the spouse who files for divorce) simply must be domiciled in the commonwealth on the filing date, unless it appears that the plaintiff came to Massachusetts for the purpose of getting a divorce.
  • If the cause of divorce happened outside of the commonwealth, the plaintiff must have maintained an actual, continuous residence in Massachusetts for one year just before filing the divorce papers.

(Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 208, § 5 (2023); Rose v. Rose, 136 N.E.3d 408 (Mass. Ct. App. 2019).)

Michigan

Michigan has a two-part residency requirement to get a divorce:

  • Just before you file for divorce in Michigan, you or your spouse must have resided for 180 days in the state and for 10 days in the county where the complaint was filed. But the 10-day county residency rule doesn't apply if your spouse was born in or is a citizen of a foreign country and is at risk of taking your minor child or children out of the United States. (Mich. Comp. Laws § 552.9 (2023).)
  • Also, if the your spouse wasn't domiciled in Michigan either on the filing date or when the cause of the divorce arose, you'll need to prove that the two of you actually lived together as a married couple in the state, or that you resided in Michigan for a full year before you filed for divorce. (Mich. Comp. Laws § 552.9f (2023).)

Minnesota

For at least 180 days just before filing for divorce in Minnesota, either spouse must have resided or had a domicile in the state, or been stationed there in the military.

Same-sex couples who don't meet this residency requirement may still get a divorce in the state if neither of them currently lives in a state or country that recognizes their marriage and thus will allow them to get divorced. (Minn. Stat. § 518.07 (2023).)

Mississippi

In order to get a Mississippi divorce, either you or your spouse must have been an actual, bona fide resident of the state for at least six months just before you file for divorce. Servicemembers stationed in the state (and their spouses) will be considered residents, as long as they were living in Mississippi when they separated. (Miss. Code § 93-5-5 (2023).)

Missouri

You may not divorce in Missouri unless you or your spouse has been a state resident (or stationed there in the military) for 90 days just before filing your petition. (Mo. Stat. § 452.305(1) (2023).)

Montana

Montana law requires that either spouse must have been domiciled in the state (or stationed there as a military servicemember) for at least 90 days before filing for a Montana divorce. (Mont. Code § 40-4-104 (2023).)

Note that if you haven't met the residency requirement when you first file for divorce, you might be able to go back to the court and fix the problem later. The Montana Supreme Court held that a woman could get divorced in the state even though neither she nor her husband lived in Montana when she filed her initial divorce petition, because she had established domicile there for 90 days by the time the judge allowed her to file a supplemental divorce petition. (Buck v. Buck, 340 P.3d 546 (Mont. Sup. Ct. 2014).)

Nebraska

You must meet either of the following residency requirements if you want to get divorce in Nebraska:

  • you or your spouse had your actual residence in the state for at least one year before you file your divorce papers, or
  • you were married in Nebraska and either you or your spouse resided in the state since then.

The law specifically says that having an actual residence in Nebraska means you intend to make it your permanent home. However, military servicemembers who've been continuously stationed in Nebraska for the required amount of time may meet either of these residency requirements. (Neb. Rev. Stat. § 42-349 (2023).)

Nevada

You may get a divorce in Nevada if either you or your spouse has been a state resident for at least six weeks before you file your divorce papers, or if the cause of your divorce happened in the state while both of you were domiciled there. (Nev. Rev. Stat. § 125.020(2) (2023).)

Because state law defines legal residence as the place where someone is physically present, the Nevada Supreme Court has held that for the purpose of the six-week requirement, residency doesn't mean the same thing as domicile. In other words, you may get a Nevada divorce as long as you've been in the state for six weeks, even if you don't plan on staying and have your permanent home elsewhere. (Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 10.155, 125.020 (2023); Senjab v. Alhulaibi, 497 P.3d 618 (Nev. Sup. Ct. 2021).)

New Hampshire

You may get a New Hampshire divorce if you meet one of the following residency requirements:

  • both you and your spouse were domiciled in the state on the filing date
  • the spouse who filed for divorce was domiciled in New Hampshire at the time and had the divorce papers personally served on the other spouse within the state, or
  • the filing spouse was domiciled in the state for one year just before the filing date.

(N.H. Rev. Stat. § 458:5 (2023).)

New Jersey

Unless you're filing for a fault divorce based on adultery, you may not get a New Jersey divorce unless you or your spouse has been a bona fide resident of the state for at least one year just before you file the divorce papers. (N.J. Rev. Stat. § 2A-34:10 (2023).)

New Mexico

Couples may get divorced in New Mexico as long as either spouse has resided and had a domicile in the state for at least six months just before filing the divorce papers. Military servicemembers (and their spouses) may also meet the residency requirement if they:

  • were continuously stationed in New Mexico for six months before the filing date, or
  • lived in New Mexico for six months before entering the military, are currently stationed outside of the state, and plan to return to the state and live there indefinitely.

(N.M. Stat. § 40-4-5 (2023).)

New York

New York State has different residency requirements for divorce, depending on the circumstances. You may get a New York divorce if:

  • either spouse has been a resident of the state continuously for at least two years just before the divorce papers were filed
  • either spouse has been a state resident for a continuous period of one year just before the filing date, and they either married in New York or lived in the state as a married couple, or
  • the legal reason (or "ground") for divorce happened in New York, and either (1) both spouses are state residents on the filing date or (2) one of them has been a state resident for one year just before then.

(N.Y. Dom. Rel. Law § 230 (2023).)

North Carolina

Before you may file for divorce in North Carolina, either you or your spouse must have been a state resident for six months. You may fulfill this residency requirement while you're still working on the one-year separation period required for getting divorce in the state. (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50-8 (2023).)

North Dakota

In order to get a divorce in North Dakota, the spouse who files for divorce must have lived in the state for six months, either before the filing date or by the time the judge signs the final divorce decree. (N.C. Cent. Code § 14-05-17 (2023).)

Ohio

There's a six-month residency requirement before you may file for divorce in Ohio. But the specifics of that requirement are slightly different depending on whether you're filing for an uncontested divorce (known in Ohio as "dissolution of marriage") or a contested divorce (which Ohio simply calls "divorce"). With a contested divorce, the plaintiff (the spouse who files the complaint) must be a state resident for six months before the filing date. But only one spouse needs to meet that six-month residency requirement when the couple is filing for a dissolution. (Ohio Rev. Code §§ 3105.03, 3105.62 (2023).)

Oklahoma

Before filing for divorce in Oklahoma, either spouse must have been an actual resident of the state for the previous six months. (Okla. Stat. tit. 43 § 102 (2023).)

Oregon

Before filing for divorce in Oregon, one of the spouses generally must have been resided or had a domicile in the state for the previous six months. The only exception to that rule would be when a couple married in Oregon and the filing spouse is claiming (as the ground for divorce) that they weren't capable of consenting to the marriage or that their consent was obtained by fraud. In that case, the residency requirement is met if either spouse resides or has a domicile in Oregon as of the filing date. (Or. Rev. Stat. § 107.075 (2023).)

Pennsylvania

Before you may file for divorce in Pennsylvania, you or your spouse must have been an actual resident of the state for at least six months just before the filing date. (23 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3104(b) (2023).)

Rhode Island

You'll meet the residency requirement for divorce in Rhode Island if:

  • the spouse who files for divorce (the plaintiff) has resided and had a domicile in the state for one year just before the filing date, or
  • the other spouse (the defendant) resided and was domiciled in the state during that same period and was actually served with the divorce papers.

Servicemembers may meet the residency requirement based on where they resided and had a domicile just before they entered the military or had to leave the state as part of their service. (R.I. Gen. Laws § 15-5-12 (2023).)

South Carolina

You must meet one of two residency requirements before filing for divorce in South Carolina:

  • If both spouses are South Carolina residents on the filing date, the filing spouse (the plaintiff) must have resided in the state for the prior three months.
  • Otherwise, either spouse must have resided in the state for one year just before the filing date.

Servicemembers who are stationed and continuously present in the state for the relevant period of time will qualify even if they don't intend to stay in South Carolina permanently. (S.C. Code § 20-3-30 (2023).)

South Dakota

You may get a divorce in South Dakota as long as the plaintiff (the filing spouse) is a state resident, or is stationed in the state while serving in the military, on the filing date. (S.D. Codified Laws § 25-4-30 (2023).)

Tennessee

In order to get a Tennessee divorce, you must meet one of the following residence requirements:

  • either you or your spouse resided in the state for six months just before filing for divorce, or
  • the filing spouse was a bona fide resident of Tennessee when the events behind the ground for divorce happened within the state.

The law presumes that servicemembers (or their spouses) have met the residency requirement if they've been living in Tennessee for at least a year, unless there's convincing evidence that they have a domicile elsewhere. (Tenn. Code § 36-4-104 (2023).)

Texas

Before you may file for divorce in Texas, either you or your spouse must have been:

  • domiciled in the state for the preceding six months, and
  • a resident of the county where you file the divorce papers for the preceding 90 days.

(Tex. Fam. Code § 6.301 (2023).)

Utah

In order to get a divorce in Utah, you or your spouse must have been an actual and bona fide resident of both the state and the county where you file for divorce for three months just before the filing date. (Utah Code § 30-3-1 (2023).)

Vermont

Vermont has a two-step residency requirement for divorce. Either spouse must have resided in the state:

You may meet the residency requirement even if you've been temporarily absent from the state, as long as you have a legitimate reason. (Vt. Stat. tit. 15, § 592(a) (2023).)

Virginia

Before you may file for divorce in Virginia, either you or your spouse must have resided and had your domicile in the state (or been stationed there in the military) for at least six months before the filing date. You may also meet this residency requirement if you're currently stationed in another country or territory as a military servicemember or civilian employee of the U.S, but you had your domicile in Virginia during the six-month period before you filed for divorce. (Va. Code § 20-97 (2023).)

Washington

You may file for divorce in Washington as long as you or your spouse is a state resident (or a military servicemember stationed in the state) on the filing date, no matter how long you've lived there. (Wash. Rev. Code § 26.09.030 (2023).)

West Virginia

You must meet one of three different residency requirements before you may file for divorce in West Virginia, depending on the circumstances:

  • If you married in West Virginia, either you or your spouse must be an actual, bona fide resident of the state as of the filing date.
  • If you married outside of the state, one of you must've been a resident throughout the one-year period just before the filing date.
  • If you're seeking a divorce based on your spouse's adultery, and your spouse isn't a West Virginia resident, you must've been an actual resident of the state for at least one year just before the filing date.

(W. Va. Code § 48-5-105 (2023).)

Wisconsin

Before you may file for divorce in Wisconsin, you or your spouse must've been a bona fide resident of:

  • the state for the previous six months, and
  • the county where you file your divorce papers for the previous 30 days.

(Wis. Stat. § 767.301 (2023).)

Wyoming

In order to get a divorce in Wyoming, you or your spouse generally must've been a state resident for at least 60 days just before your file your divorce papers. But there is a narrow exception that would apply in very short marriages: You may get a Wyoming divorce if you married in the state and one of you continued to reside there from the marriage date until the filing date. (Wyo. Stat. § 20-2-107 (2023).)

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