Is it possible to file for divorce when couple lives in separate states?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is it possible to file for divorce when couple lives in separate states?

I’ve been separated from my wife
for 6 yrsnot legally. Haven’t
had contact with her in about 2
yrs. I recently moved to SC from
NY and found someone I would like
to marry but can’t since i’m
already married…just would like
to know what my options are

Asked on January 5, 2017 under Family Law, South Carolina


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You can file in the state in which either you or your wife has legal residency; typically to establish residency you must have lived in the state for 3-6 months. Additionally, when you file your spouse must be served notice of the divorce action. if you cannot locate her exact address, you can ask the court if you can serve her via "publication". This means that you can put a notice in a newspaper in the area of her last known whereabouts (the court will instruct in what newspaper to do this). If, fter that, if she does not respond you can then proceed with the case and a "divorce by default" can be granted. At this point, you may want to consult directly with a local divorce attorney.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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