Even if you did not get married in Arizona, you can get divorced in Arizona if you are a resident of Arizona. However, the divorce judge may not have jurisdiction over all the issues in your case. For example, if your spouse resides in a different state with the children, and that spouse has resided with the children in that state for at least six consecutive months, the other state is the state that has jurisdiction over the child-related matters. Even if your spouse does not reside in the other state with the children — i.e. if the children reside here in Arizona with you, but the other spouse resides elsewhere and if that spouse has never resided in Arizona, the Arizona court may not have jurisdiction over the other spouse with regard to child support.
These situations need to be analyzed carefully because there are exceptions, and exceptions to exceptions, but if you, your spouse and your children all reside here and you have all resided here for the past six months, then Arizona is probably going to be the location of your divorce case even if you got married elsewhere. If there are no children in common between the spouses, the filing spouse must have resided in Arizona for ninety-one consecutive days before filing for divorce in an Arizona court.
If the parties have no children in common, but one spouse is an Arizona resident and the other spouse is a resident of another state, Arizona may not have personal jurisdiction over the nonresident spouse except the Arizona court always has the jurisdiction to sever the marriage on behalf of the spouse who is an Arizona resident, even if the Arizona court does not have jurisdiction to decide property and spousal maintenance issues.
Again, these are complicated scenarios so these general rules should not be relied upon in the absence of a consultation with an experienced Arizona divorce attorney. But as a general rule, if you and your spouse are residents of Arizona, and your spouse then leaves the state with the children, you must act quickly in order to increase the odds that your case will be under the jurisdiction of the Arizona courts, unless the state to which your spouse moves is much more favorable to you on issues that are in your best interest, in which case your attorney may advise you to wait until that state obtains jurisdiction. That is why it is often a good idea to consult with an Arizona attorney and an attorney in the other state, so that you can analyze the pros and cons of each jurisdiction. Often, the two attorneys will briefly discuss your situation between themselves and reach a unified opinion on which state your case should be filed in.
Regardless, if you have children and you do not want to move to the other state, and if you want lots of parenting time with your children, ordinarily you should move swiftly to file a case in Arizona so that you will increase the chance that the judge will order your spouse to return the children to Arizona. The longer you wait, the more established your spouse and children will become in the new state, and the less likely the judge will be willing disturb their routine.
Can I Get Divorced In Arizona If I Got Married Outside Of The United States?
Even if you did not get married in the United States, you can still get divorced in Arizona if you are an Arizona resident. However, the court may only have jurisdiction to sever the marital ties. The court may not have jurisdiction over the other spouse and the court definitely will not have jurisdiction over property that is located in the other country. International divorce cases are complicated. Figuring out the best way to proceed turns on a variety of factors and it is highly advisable to obtain a consultation with an experienced international divorce attorney in order to determine which jurisdiction would be the correct one in which to file your case.
But if you and your spouse both reside in Arizona, the fact that you got married in the other country makes no difference. You are still entitled to a divorce in Arizona. Whether the other country will recognize the divorce is a different question, and one that must be analyzed carefully with an international divorce attorney if you have plans to move back to that country in the future. Also, if you have children in the other country, you may or may not be able to have custody issues decided in an Arizona court.
Usually the Arizona court will defer to the other country’s court, but there are exceptions that are beyond the scope of this general informational material. If your spouse leaves Arizona and moves to another country with your children, you must immediately obtain a consultation with an experienced international child custody attorney. Time is of the essence in such cases. If too much time passes, you will be forced to litigate in the other country, which could be far more costly, time consuming, biased, and frustrating that anything you would experience in an Arizona court, depending on which country your spouse has moved to.
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