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Some friends of mine married in the UK (one a British citizen, the other non-EU non-USA), then moved over to the USA not long after. They've been there for a couple of years now. Sadly things haven't gone too well for them, and some sort of separation looks on the cards, possibly even divorce.

What isn't clear, at least from a cursory google, is where a divorce (if needed) would happen. Would it need to be a UK divorce, as that's where they married + that's the citizenship of one of them? Would it need to be a US divorce, as that's where they live together now? Or is it something they could choose between?

(Or is it a complicated state matter, varying depending on the US state they live in?)

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They most likely need to get divorced in the jurisdiction where they reside. For example, in New York State, at least one spouse must have resided in the state, generally for one year:

Before a New York Court can give you a divorce, you need to show that you and/or your spouse have lived in New York State for a certain amount of time, without interruption, generally for one year. For more information on the residency requirement, see pp. 1-3 of the Uncontested Divorce Forms Packet Instructions.

In other US states, the particulars will vary, but the general principle that one must be a resident will be consistent.

(Hyperlinks removed. Source: https://www.nycourts.gov/divorce/info_faqs.shtml; see To start a divorce case, what legal requirements do I need to meet?)

Similarly, to get a divorce in England and Wales,

You must have a marriage that is legally recognised in the UK, and have a permanent home in England or Wales.

(Source: https://www.gov.uk/divorce/overview)

From the question, it appears that neither spouse has a permanent home in England or Wales, so that won't be an option.

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If their current domicile is in the Unites States, then they can get divorced there.

  • 2
    Do you have any source for that? – drat Dec 4 '15 at 5:33

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