Choosing the Right State for Your Divorce
Jean and Joe had been married a long time but they did not spend much time together. Jean was the high earner and she spent lots of her time on the road for business. The clearest event establishing the separation was Jean’s purchase of a home in Virginia in her own name seven years ago. Husband lived in Maryland.
Because the date for determining whether property is marital is separation in Virginia and the trial date in Maryland, Jean’s lawyer decided to file the case in Virginia rather than Maryland. Otherwise Jean might have to divide everything she had acquired over the seven year period that the spouses had lived apart and had completely separate finances.
Joe’s lawyer filed an Answer submitting Joe to the Virginia Court’s jurisdiction and never raised the lack of personal jurisdiction. If Joe’s lawyer had gotten Jean’s Virginia case dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction and filed Joe’s complaint in Maryland, everything Jean had accumulated during the seven years of separation up to the date of divorce or would have been marital property. The case settled on favorable terms to Jean.