Category: Planning for Divorce

Residency for Divorce

Ireland is currently working on the wording of what the Irish electorate will be asked to vote on in the upcoming divorce referendum. Residency for divorce is an issue about the amount of time a person has to live in a state, and in some cases, live apart from their spouse, before they can file for divorce.

residency for divorce

Luck of the Irish

If the luck of the Irish holds out and the referendum is passed, the government would introduce primary legislation on the time period before you can get a divorce, rather than having it in the Constitution which must be put to a public vote when changes are proposed.

Under the current system, married couples need to have lived apart for at least four years during the previous five years. The new proposals would see that reduced to two years, with the Irish Legislature, the Oireachtas, providing the legislation for this.

The referendum is due to take place on 24 May, the same day as the local and European elections.

Florida Divorce Residency Requirement

Ireland is not alone in having a residency for divorce requirement before spouses can file a case. Most U.S. states for example, have some kind of a durational residency requirement for the plaintiff in a divorce and others add to that a requirement you live apart first.

I’ve written about things to consider when planning for divorce before. Residency for divorce is a very important jurisdictional requirement in every case.

Generally, the non-filing party need not be a resident in the state in order for the court to divorce the parties under the divisible divorce doctrine. The court’s personal jurisdiction over the non-filing spouse is necessary only if the court enters personal orders regarding the spouse.

The durational domicile or residency requirement goes to the heart of the court’s ability to divorce the parties, because the residency of a party to a divorce creates a relationship with the state to justify its exercise of power over the marriage.

What are some of the time limits in the United States? For example, Florida has a six-month requirement for residency before you can file for divorce here.

By contrast, Iowa has a one-year residency requirement for all spouses filing in the state. The same is true for Maryland, which requires that at least one spouse be a Maryland resident for at least one-year before filing for divorce. Maryland law also requires the couple to live apart for at least 12-months before filing for divorce.

The rule sounds easy enough, but failure to adhere to the rule may cause the court to enter a divorce decree without having the proper jurisdiction. In that event the divorce decree could be called into question.

The Irish Journal article is here.


Social Security and Divorce – Plan Ahead

On behalf of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Planning for Divorce on Monday, August 12, 2013.

Anyone planning for divorce needs to consider the impact of Social Security benefits. This is especially true if you are close to the age at which you become eligible for benefits, but haven’t started to receive them yet. If you think Social Security claims, benefits and entitlements are confusing, you are not alone.

In general, once you are divorced, you can receive spousal Social Security benefits based on an your ex-husband’s or your ex-wife’s earnings, as long as your marriage lasted at least a 10 years, you are a minimum of 62 years of age, are not married, and do not qualify for a higher benefit based on your own past earnings.

As a matter of divorce planning then, and theoretically, if you were only married 9 years, you may want to put your divorce plans on hold so that you could receive spousal benefits.

Additionally, if an ex-spouse delays claiming Social Security benefits until full retirement age, they can start to collect a spousal Social Security benefits check of 50% of an ex-spouse’s retirement benefits.

They might also be able to continue working – and even increase the eventual amount of their own personal Social Security retirement benefits – by delaying retirement, until age 70. When an ex-spouse reaches age 70, their Social Security monthly retirement check would be approximately 132% larger than it otherwise would have been, and even larger depending on annual cost of living increases.

One complication is that a divorced spouse can only receive a spousal Social Security benefit 2-years after a divorce, if an ex-spouse has not yet applied for his or her own retirement benefit.

There are a lot of other Social Security Administration rules which can complicate this straightforward analysis. The rules regulating Social Security could change at any point in time, and suddenly delayed benefits might no longer be recognized. Or the criteria for divorcing spouses can be changed to 5 years from the 2 years stated above.

What happens if the Social Security rules change? It may depend on the status and wording of the law at the time you divorce. So, not only can the current rules cause you immediate problems, but the plans you made – which were correct at the time you made them – might be wrecked by a rule change.