JURISDICTION My husband and I were married 16 months ago in NY. We both lived in NY at the time. Five months ago, he abandoned me, moving to DC. We both lived in DC before our marriage (not together), although I was a student and NY domiciliary throughout my time there. I have not lived in DC for 2 1/2 years or been there otherwise except for a visit five months ago. He wants to petition for divorce in DC, because he can do so more quickly and because he does not have grounds against me in NY. Although there are no significant marital assets in contention, I do not believe that he is entitled to anything because he abandoned me. Moreover, I am the primary breadwinner, and I do not want to be responsible for paying him alimony. I recognize that his domicile in DC gives them grounds to end our marriage, but, if I do not participate in the proceedings, will they have grounds to obtain any of the assets in my possession in NY or to force me to pay alimony?
I do not know what the jurisdictional requirements are in DC, and perhaps five months is sufficient for him to file for divorce, although it seems a little short. To prevent the case from being heard in DC, you should file for divorce first in New York on the grounds of abandonment. New York would have jurisdiction because you lived here for over a year and were married in New York. Once the case is commenced here in New York, he will not be able to file in DC and will have to deal with New York law.
Do not waste time. File first. Call me; I can help.
If you are living in the New York City metropolitan area, please call me at 212-370-1660 to discuss mediating your divorce. It will save you time and money and lots of aggravation.
Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solution