Denver, CO asked in Divorce for Colorado

Q: Where do I file when we live in separate states?

We were married in 2004 and separated in 2011. We lived together in Florida for several years where we had two children. He hasn't had any major contact with either child since 2012. We have agreed to terms of the divorce but don't know how to proceed. He still lives in Florida and I've lived in Colorado with our son for two years, and our daughter lives with my parents in florida.

Related Topics:
3 Lawyer Answers
Stephen J. Plog
Stephen J. Plog
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Tampa, FL
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: Unfortunately, you may need to file in two states. Colorado would have custody jurisdiction over your sons. Florida would have custody jurisdiction over your daughter. If you all are in agreement on divorce terms you can file in either Florida or Colorado. If in Colorado you would need to do your own separate custody case tied into your daughter in Florida. As Florida has personal jurisdiction over the father for child support purposes, and as relates to enforceability of orders, it may make more sense to file divorce case in FL, deal with custody of daughter there, and then deal with CO custody of son separately. Under interstate custody rules there are going to have to be two separate custody cases given the scenario you describe.

Tristan Kenyon Schultz
Tristan Kenyon Schultz
Answered
  • Fort Collins, CO
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: There is another potential option. If both parties can agree (stipulate) on jurisdiction for either FL or CO for all legal matters, it should be possible to consolidate both cases to a single state. Note, this consolidation may result in different divisions and payments because of the difference between Colorado and/or Florida law. There might also be some issues with enforceability (assuming waiver of jurisdiction and transferring of orders does not occur).

If no agreement on jurisdiction occurs or a judge rejects consolidation, litigation in both states will occur.

John Hyland Barrett III
John Hyland Barrett III
Answered
  • Louisville, CO
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: Child custody jurisdiction lies with the state where the child has lived for the last 6 months (182 days in Colorado). This applies to children under age 18. If both children are under that age, you will have to file for a divorce in one state and for custody of the other child in the other state. You should retain attorneys in each state to decide how best to proceed.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.