My Spouse Lives Out of State, Can I Get Divorced?


The decision to divorce is a deeply personal one, which can often take time and distance to make. Sometimes, a spouse may choose to leave the state when the separation occurs, or couples have drifted apart and have been living in different states. This frequently happens prior to either spouse filing for a divorce. So when a spouse decides that he or she wants to legally end their marriage, then the questions inevitably arises: can I get a divorce if my spouse lives out of state?

Residency Requirement

The short answer to this question is yes, you can get a divorce from a spouse who lives in another state. In Nevada, a married person who has resided in the state for six consecutive weeks may file a petition for divorce in a family law court of this state. So long as one spouse has met this requirement, a Nevada court can exercise “subject matter jurisdiction” over the divorce. So then, what about the other spouse who does not reside in Nevada?

Personal Jurisdiction Required

Even if a spouse has a legal right to file a divorce petition in Nevada, courts still need to have “personal jurisdiction” over the other spouse in order to enter enforceable orders. This ability to assert authority over a person is a fundamental legal principal based on a person’s right to notice that their legal rights are being impeded.

To acquire personal jurisdiction in a divorce and in lawsuits regarding critical issues like property division, alimony, and child custody, the other spouse must be served with the lawsuit. The most effective means of service is “personal service” of the legal pleadings to the person by a peace officer. If your spouse lives in another state or internationally and you have his or her address, personal service is more complex than in-state service of process.

If personal service cannot be achieved, there are alternate forms of service that are legally recognized if approved by the court, such as service by certified mail or citation by publication in a newspaper. Our lawyers can help you navigate the hurdles of attaining effective service on an out of state spouse.

Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P.

Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman, L.L.P. is a full-service law firm that provides individuals high-quality legal advice and representation. If you have decided to pursue a divorce, we understand that you did not reach your decision lightly. Our lawyers will listen to you, treat you with respect, and work tirelessly to help achieve your best outcome. Call Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. today at (775) 227-2280 to schedule an appointment or contact our office through our website.

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