May I Go to Another State to Get a Speedy Divorce?
Are you thinking that sounds like too long and you are wondering if you can get around that rule? There are drive-through marriage chapels in Las Vegas, are there drive-through divorce chapels? I won’t leave you in suspense on that one. No. There are no drive-through divorce locations in the U.S.
Each state has different rules when it comes to divorce procedures. A simple internet search “Where can I get divorced the fastest” will bring up an article that shows that Alaska requires a 30-day waiting period, which means theoretically you could get divorced four times faster in Alaska.
However, every state also has rules about who can get divorced in that state. In Wisconsin, to get divorced one of the spouses must have been a resident of Wisconsin for six months and a resident of the county where the divorce was filed for 30 days prior to filing for divorce. As the counter example, Alaska requires the couple to have lived in Alaska for at least six consecutive months within the six years before filing for divorce. As you can see, moving yourself to Alaska to get divorced faster is not a very good option.
If you get divorced in a different state in the U.S., your divorce is given “full faith and credit” here in Wisconsin unless there is an issue with how one of the parties was served. If you got divorced in Alaska and followed all the rules there, you are still divorced in Wisconsin. But what if your divorce happened in another country?
The rule in Wisconsin is that courts may recognize a divorce from another country under the legal concept of “comity.” There are two important things to note from this: First, the “may” recognize does not mean that courts have to recognize the foreign divorce. It would be hard to say with certainty if your divorce would “count” in Wisconsin. Second, the legal concept of “comity” is not an entirely clear area of the law, it basically means that courts should give credit to foreign courts unless it goes against the law, morals, or public policy of Wisconsin.
In the past, Wisconsin courts have looked at the circumstances of the divorce in a foreign country and decided if it undermines the states legal system. The classic example of this is a case where two Wisconsin residents traveled to Mexico for a divorce. They followed the Mexican laws and were able to get a very fast totally legal divorce in Mexico. However, because the Wisconsin court found that the Mexico divorce was done with the specific purpose of trying to circumvent Wisconsin laws, it was decided that the divorce should not be given full faith and credit.
If you were living overseas and got divorced according to the laws of that country, without doing it just to circumvent the laws of Wisconsin, it is likely that a Wisconsin Court would give your divorce full faith and credit. If you got divorced internationally but now live in Wisconsin, a Wisconsin court should have the ability to modify the judgement as long as the circumstances would allow for modification the same as if you had been divorced in Wisconsin.
If you are trying to figure out how to get divorced the fastest way possible, it’s likely that traveling to another state or country to get a quicky-divorce will not work.. At best it will leave you in a place of uncertainty as to whether or not you are actually divorced. In Wisconsin, getting divorced in the county that you have been a resident of for at least the last 30 days is the fastest and safest way to get divorced.
If you are ready to discuss the divorce process please reach out to one of our experienced family law attorneys. They have the experience and compassion to help you navigate this process.