IfIwas legally separated in 1 state and now live in another, how do I getmy divorce finalized?

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IfIwas legally separated in 1 state and now live in another, how do I getmy divorce finalized?

We legally separated in CA in 2005, split out assets with me paying him out $145,000 for his half of the house and then the CA housing market crashed and I ended up losing the house. I spent thousands on the divorce up to that point and now since I ran out of money it is in limbo. What can I do from MA to finalize my CA divorce and get my name back? I haven’t spoken to my ex in years and I don’t even know where he lives. I think I may still owe my attorney $350 but I am not sure. Will this affect the finalizing the divorce?

Asked on September 16, 2010 under Family Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

This is one of those instances where you are married "in name only" and all other bonds - financial and otherwise - have already been determined.  Here is the issue: you must now file a petition for dissolution of the marriage.  From what I understand, a legal separation is a separate proceeding in California unlike a "separation agreement" which in some states can be just filed and converted to a divorce after a certain amount of time (New York's law is consistent with this called a conversion divorce).  I am assuming that you have an Order of Separation that refers to the documentation that splits your assets, etc.  What I believe you have to do is to file for divorce in the state in which you now live: Massachusetts.  So you have to fulfill their requirements of residency, service on your ex, etc. You are going to have to seek legal help with all of this.  You should be able to use the legal separation order and paperwork to show the distribution of assets was already done.  The problem will be service.  Your attorney can help you with that.  Good luck.


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