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The law can vary from state to state, and the arena of divorce is no different. From residency requirements to mandatory waiting periods, how you get divorced will depend on where you live. And some of those laws can be pretty strange.
Here are five of the most unusual state divorce laws, so you know what to look out for.
According to Alabama's Marital and Domestic Code, "After divorce from the bonds of matrimony and within the discretion of the circuit court of the county in which the divorced wife resides and upon application of any interested party, the divorced wife may be enjoined from the use of the given name or initials of the divorced husband."
Delaware requires spouses to be "living separate and apart for 6 or more months immediately preceding the ruling upon the petition for a decree of divorce." Courts will allow efforts to save the marriage, including cohabitation and even sex, to occur during this time, "provided that the parties have not occupied the same bedroom or had sexual relations with each other within the 30-day period immediately preceding the day the Court hears the petition for divorce."
More than half the judicial courts in Kentucky mandate some form of Divorce Education courses, aimed at making parents more aware of the impact of divorce on children. According to the Kentucky Court of Justice website, these classes "give families exposure to information and skills that may ultimately lead to a reduction in the number of disputes that require a court's intervention."
Under Oklahoma statutes: "It shall be unlawful for either party to an action for divorce whose former husband or wife is living to marry in this state a person other than the divorced spouse within six (6) months from date of decree of divorce granted in this state, or to cohabit with such other person in this state during said period if the marriage took place in another state."
There is no Texas statute prohibiting someone from filing for divorce while a spouse is pregnant, but most state courts will require couples to wait until after the baby is born to finalize their divorce. Judges will rarely grant the divorce until after the child is born. This is so that the court can also address other issues with the divorce, like child custody, support, and paternity. Therefore, it could take more than nine months to legally end your marriage.
For help with these and other state divorce statutes, contact a local divorce attorney.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.