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It is a common misconception that a divorce has to be filed where the marriage took place. That is not the case and never has been! A divorce is a legal action. Legal actions may be filed only in the jurisdiction (your state, NOT your county) where one resides. By “resides” the law means where you now live. “Live” means where you go to sleep and get up every day. It does not matter what your driver’s license says. It does not matter if you never officially changed your address. It does not matter if you still get your mail at your spouse’s address. It certainly does not matter where you were born, where you lived most of your life, or even whether or not you are a US citizen. What matters is where you have been living (and under Pennsylvania law, living for the last six months continuously).

One example I like to use when I’m asked if a person needs to file the divorce where the marriage took place is to ask “What if you were married while on a vacation at the South Pole? Would it be at all reasonable to make you file your divorce there?” I think the answer is rather obvious, don’t you?

Similarly, as long as your divorce is uncontested, Pennsylvania law allows your divorce to be filed in any county… as long as it is one of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. That’s right. You do not have to file your divorce in the county where you got married. If you are a Pennsylvania resident, all that is important is filing your uncontested divorce in Pennsylvania.

I want to mention a distinction between states and counties. A state is a jurisdiction. A county is a venue, not a jurisdiction. So, a divorce must be filed in the correct jurisdiction. If it is uncontested, it may be filed in any venue (county).

Finally, let me put another ancient concept to rest. There are about seven counties in and around southeastern Pennsylvania that require you to have a certified copy of your marriage license/certificate to file your divorce there. Apparently, some time in the distant past, some folks who were never married tried to get divorced, so this crazy rule was invented. The low-cost, uncontested, simple, no-fault divorces I file do not require your marriage license, so do not worry about that silly thing.