Where to File, Jurisdiction in Divorce

A Person recently asked us:

How do you determine jurisdiction? Married for 42 years. Primary residence is in Georgia and own condo in Florida. Wife is now staying in Florida since November 2011. I want to file for divorce in Georgia, but how do I know where jurisdiction will be?


The question of Jurisdiction can be a very complicated one. As a general rule a person has the right to have any civil lawsuits brought against them in the state and county where they reside. Of course there are exceptions to this rule and the issue of “where they reside” can be rather subjective and up for argument. For example, if your wife is just on an extended vacation in Florida, then she still resides in Georgia for the purpose of jurisdiction. If she moved to Florida in 2011 and intended to make Florida her home then she would reside in Florida. The primary exception to the general rule would be Georgia’s long arm statute which would allow for Georgia to exercise personal Jurisdiction over the resident of another state. However, to qualify for jurisdiction under the long arm statute you must meet very specific requirements. For that reason, you will probably need to seek the advice of an experienced Divorce Lawyer. For more information on the process of filing for divorce, please visit the links to our websites.


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