Can a divorce be filed if the other party has already filed a seperation?

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Can a divorce be filed if the other party has already filed a seperation?

I have a friend who filed for separation a month and a half ago in NE. Her husband received the paperwork. Then a month later he filed for divorce in Washington. He is military, she is not. They lived in WA for 9 months when she left him. She has lived in NE for a year and she and her son are legal residents of the state. He is a legal resident of WA. Who has the jurisdiction to move forward?

Asked on November 29, 2010 under Family Law, Nebraska

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Both courts have jurisdiction here to hear the actions because each of the parties that filed their actions meet the residency requirements and thus the jurisdictional requirements to file.  The next step is obtaining jurisdiction over the non-filing party in each of the proceedings.  You stated that he was served and thus the Court has jurisdiction over him in that action.  Has she been served?  When that happens jurisdiction over her will be attached.  She did not file for divorce, correct, only for separation.  But did she file for custody and for support?  Her action is "first in time" and under the law it is generally then "first in right" meaning that the other matter would be dismissed.  But the clinker is that they are not for the same thing (although they share similar components) and that is the wrench here.  She needs to speak with her attorney.  Good luck.


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