Ex-Parte Divorce: When One Spouse Lives in Another State


Ex-Parte Divorce Meaning

Ex-parte divorce occurs when only one spouse lives in the jurisdiction where the divorce is filed. For example, perhaps one spouse is a resident of California, and the other is a resident of New York. If so, an ex-parte divorce occurs when either spouse files in their state. Even though the other spouse does not live in the same jurisdiction, if a spouse is a legal resident of that state, he or she can file for divorce there. Regardless of which state the divorce is completed in, it is valid across the United States.

How Long Does an Ex-Parte Divorce Take?

On average, an ex-parte divorce takes 6-12 months, which is about the same as a divorce that involves both spouses living in the same area. All divorce laws are local, and every divorce is different. Therefore, an ex-parte divorce may not be a longer or shorter process just because you and your spouse live in different states.

How Much Alimony Is Provided after an Ex-Parte Divorce?

The alimony determined during an ex-parte divorce depends on your local laws.

There Can Be a Benefit for Filing for Divorce First.

If you file for an ex-parte divorce, you get to choose the venue for your divorce proceedings. If your spouse lives far away, that can be a big logistical benefit during your case. If your spouse tries to change the venue of the divorce, it is an expensive, time-consuming effort.

Get a Local Lawyer.

If you are the spouse dealing with an ex-parte divorce that has been filed in a different jurisdiction, make sure the lawyer you hire is in the jurisdiction where the divorce was filed. Otherwise, you will be operating at a disadvantage with a lawyer who does not know the area’s rules and procedures. And if you go to court, your attorney will not know the judge.

Shawn Leamon, MBA, CDFA is the host of the “Divorce and Your Money Show” and Managing Partner of LaGrande Global, with offices in Dallas, New York and Hanover, New Hampshire.


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Shawn Leamon, MBA, CDFA

Dallas, Texas

Shawn C. H. Leamon is Managing Partner of LaGrande Global, a firm that helps successful families manage large financial transitions like divorce, inheritance and selling a business.

He earned his Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth College, double majoring in Economics and Philosophy, and his Masters in Business Administration at Spain’s IE Business School.

Before founding LaGrande Global, Shawn helped manage $1.1 billion in client assets at Bernstein Global Wealth Management. He also worked as a credit research analyst at J.P. Morgan. He is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, and he has been an advisor to numerous high-stakes divorce cases.

Shawn is the author of two well-received finance books: Managing Private Wealth: Principles, and Divorce and Your Money: The No-Nonsense Guide, both published in 2016.

In his spare time, Shawn is an ultra-endurance athlete and has competed in events as long as 24 hours. He is an Eagle Scout and a member of the Alumni Board of Greenhill School.