Jurisdiction and Filing for Divorce

Posted on in Child Custody and Support

One of the requirements for filing a divorce is residency in the state you are filing.  For example, Illinois requires that either spouse resides or is stationed within state lines for 90 days.  The other spouse doesn't need to reside in the same state but that can have an effect on your divorce proceedings.  The state which you file will decide how property is divided or how child custody is decided.  This is why it’s important to understand the concept of jurisdiction as it applies to your possible divorce.

The court looks at two different kinds of jurisdiction when deciding a divorce, personal jurisdiction and in rem jurisdiction.  Between these two concerns, a divorce court must decide if they can settle each case.  So what are these two terms?

Personal jurisdiction is when a court has control over a person because they live in state.  The court can also have jurisdiction if the person is served with a summons in Illinois or has minimum contracts in Illinois.  A minimum contract is a legal term which  a person to waive their rights to object to a court hearing a case.  If no objection is heard to this effect, then the case must proceed as dictated by state law.  Personal jurisdiction allows a court to make a person do something.

In rem jurisdiction is Latin for “against the thing.”  Cases of this kind are concerning things, like property, rather than people.  If you have a house in Illinois, and you are divorcing someone in Illinois, the divorce courts may decide how to split the assets or property held in common.  But, if you are divorcing someone in Illinois but you share property in Indiana, you may not be able to decide the division of property through the divorce court without having that jurisdiction.

Jurisdiction is a tricky aspect of a divorce, especially if you share property in different states.  In order to have your divorce go as smoothly as possible, you need to discuss your case with an experienced professional.  They can show you the best options for moving forward in your difficult time, so contact a dedicated divorce attorney in Geneva today.

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