If I filed for divorce in California and my spouse filed in Arizona who's divorce goes through? I served her my papers first and turned in the proof of service. So which state will our divorce go through and who will be the petitioner?
3 Answers from Attorneys
That's a more complicated problem than you may think, and may require one of you to "surrender" to get a final binding judgment. If you have been living in different states a long time, each court may have jurisdiction to issue a bare divorce, but not have personal jurisdiction to issue support orders or divide property. So you may have a stand-off until one of you agrees to litigate in the other's state. It also depends on things like how long each of you has lived in your respective states, whether there are children, and how long they have been living in what state. If there are children and they have been living in one state primarily for at least six months, the other state will almost invariably abstain from exercising jurisdiction over the case, even if there is otherwise equal or divided jurisdiction.
I agree with Mr. McCormick. Right now it depends on which state has personal jurisdiction, and whether the spouse's are going to challenge the other state's exercise of jurisdiction over them. My big question to you is whether you have been served with the Arizona divorce first, and whether you have grounds or plans to contest jurisdiction?
The previous two answers pretty much set forth the basic issues.