FAQ for Long Distance Divorces

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A lot of couples are already separated by distance before they file for divorce. Here are some of the more common frequently asked questions that Birmingham family law attorneys receive when helping families through long distance divorces.


If we live in different counties, where do we file for divorce?


According to Section 30-2-4 of the Alabama Code, there are specific rules about where you can file for divorce. In general, you can file for divorce in:


  • the county where the defendant lives
  • the county where you both lived together at the time when you separated
  • if your spouse moves out of Alabama, then in the county where you reside


If my spouse moved away, can I still file for divorce in my own county?


Yes. In most cases, you should file for divorce in the county where you both lived together. There are going to be cases in which things get complicated. Perhaps you and your spouse have gotten separated several times, or your spouse moved away, then you left the county, then you came back. Having an experienced divorce attorney review your situation is the best way to ensure that you are filing your divorce in the right place.


Which school will the children have to attend?


The court is going to focus on making sure that all decisions are in the best interests of the children. If your children are already attending school and well settled into a routine, the court will generally prefer to make sure your children are not uprooted and moved to another school, especially in the middle of a school year. There are, of course, exceptions. The court will also look at which location offers the best support system (e.g. existing friends, extended family, etc.).


If I had to move away for work, will I have to travel back to my original residence for the trial?


Perhaps. In many cases, if you move away from the county of domicile, and the divorce is initiated in that county, you probably will have to litigate the matter in that county, even if you had to leave. In other words, you do not get to move the case just because life took you elsewhere, but you do not have to be at every court appearance. A good divorce lawyer can handle most of the routine appearances for you. Naturally, you would almost always have to be at trial.


Can my spouse move away and take my children to another state without my consent?


Usually not. In most cases, the court is going to be strict about not letting either party remove the children to a faraway location without very good reasons. Just getting a good job in another state is not usually a good enough reason to take children so far away that they would not be able to see the other parent. As with everything, though, there are exceptions you should discuss with your attorney.


What if I have to move to another state for a job?  Can I file for divorce there?


Usually not. The law requires a court to have jurisdiction over both the subject matter and the people. Just because a foreign or out of state court might have jurisdiction to hear a case involving you, does not mean that court has any jurisdiction to decide a case involving your spouse. For instance, if you move to Wyoming, it would be unfair to expect your Alabama spouse to defend a divorce in a distant state in which he or she has never lived.


Getting Help With a Birmingham Divorce


If you are dealing with a complicated long distance divorce, call Five Points Law Group to get help with your Birmingham divorce now.

Heather Fann
Heather Fann
Heather's practice seeks to preserve the dignity of clients through healthy paths for their changing families, employing both modern and traditional means of resolution including collaborative practice and methods such as use of Parenting Coordinators, as well as mediation, though she stands ready to litigate where necessary.

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