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How Can Floridians Change Their Divorce Venue?

David Scott, P.A. Aug. 21, 2022

When it comes to divorce, there are a number of things you have to consider, and for some couples, the court or venue where the divorce proceedings will take place is one of them.

Baseball fans might recognize the name Addison Russell. Russell is a shortstop for the Chicago Cubs and is currently in the process of getting divorced from his wife, Melisa Reidy-Russell.

The couple, who had a child in 2015, got married in January 2016. In June of this year, Reidy-Russell filed for divorce in Cook County, Illinois amidst unsubstantiated rumors that Russell had been unfaithful to her and committed domestic abuse.

A week prior to Reidy-Russell filing for divorce, Russell actually filed for divorce in Pensacola – Russell’s hometown in Escambia County. Since the divorce petition, the couple has separated and Reidy-Russell moved back to Florida where her parents also live.

As of last month, Reidy-Russell’s lawyer confirmed that the divorce venue has been relocated from Illinois to Florida “by agreement” but did not further explain why the case was moved.

There are a number of reasons why a court would change a divorce venue here in Florida, and it begs some questions: where does Florida let you get divorced? What are your options?

Where Can I Get Divorced in Florida?

In our state, you must initially petition for the dissolution of marriage at the circuit court of the county where you or your spouse lives. It’s important to note, though, that you or your spouse need to be a Florida resident for at least six months prior to filing for divorce.

Once the divorce has been filed, though, you can choose to move to another city, a different state, or even a totally new country.

So what happens if you move and you want to change the venue of your divorce? Depending on your specific circumstances, you can ask the court for a change of venue.

Specific Circumstances That May Lead to a Change in Divorce Venue

Florida Statute 47.122 states:

For the convenience of the parties or witnesses or in the interest of justice, any court of record may transfer any civil action to any other court of record in which it might have been brought.

So it all comes down to what will be the most convenient location for all the parties involved. The court will need to look at the reasons why you are seeking a change in venue and determine if relocating will be convenient for both parties.

Additionally, if there are children, the child’s interests will become the top priority because Florida courts will always look out for the best interest of the child as they do when it comes to time-sharing.

In order to grant this change, the courts will consider a number of factors, including the geographic location of both parents, continuity in the child’s life, and the parent’s ability to protect their child from litigation.

If the child’s life will be disrupted by a specific venue – whether it’s due to traveling long distances or needing to take time off from school – the court will do whatever it can to ensure that the location will be particularly convenient for the child.

How a Skilled Family Lawyer Can Help

Divorce is stressful enough – you shouldn’t also have to worry about where your divorce proceedings will take place.

If you are considering a change in venue for your divorce, reach out to an experienced Florida divorce lawyer to have the best chance of a Florida court granting your venue change request.