Residency vs. Domicile: Where Do I File for Divorce?

Austin divorce lawyers want their clients to know that you must live in the state in which you file for divorce. You are not allowed to look at each state’s divorce laws, then pick whatever state you think is most likely to give you a favorable settlement. However, your spouse does not have to be a resident of the state that you file for divorce in. If you moved to Texas after separating from your spouse, for example, you could file for divorce after establishing residency even if your spouse still lives in another state.

The period for establishing residency varies greatly from state to state. To further complicate the situation, some states will say that a spouse has be domiciled in the state to file. Domicile is a tougher standard to prove than residency. Domicile requires a permanent home that you intended to stay in. Residency merely requires that you be currently present in a particular location.

Technically speaking, a person can have several residences. However, a person can only have one domicile. For example, someone who travels regularly on business and owns a vacation home may be a resident of Texas, Florida, Arizona, and Indiana. But, if his mail is sent to his permanent home in Texas and this is where he votes and has his driver’s license, only Texas would be considered his domicile.

If you have children with your spouse, you should be aware that the home state of the child will have custody jurisdiction unless your divorce decree states otherwise.

If you have questions about how residency affects your divorce, it is best to contact a qualified Austin divorce attorney.

This article does not create an attorney-client relationship. Its purpose is to educate the public about the topic of family law. This article should not be seen as legal advice. You should consult with an attorney before you rely on this information.