State Policies to Promote Marriage. Table 3: Divorce Laws and Procedures

09/01/2002

State Waiting Periods (b) Different Laws for Families with children Mediation
Minimum Period Until Divorce is Granted (a) Residency Requirement (c)
Alabama Law. 30 days. Section 30-2-8.1 (Acts 1996, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 96-51, p. 70, §1.) Source: http://www.legislature.state.al.us/
CodeofAlabama/1975/coatoc.htm
6 months (Title 30, Chapter 2) Source: http://www.legislature.state.al.us/    
Alaska   None. If the marriage has been solemnized, and the Plaintiff is a resident of the state, he or she can bring the action at any time. Alaska Statutes; Title 25, Chapters 22-10.030, 24.080 and 24.090 Source: http://www.legis.state.ak.us/ See Education on Effects of Divorce  
Arizona Law. 60 days. Chapter 3 (25-329). Source: http://www.azleg.state.az.us/ars/25/00329.htm http://www.cyberstation.net/paralegal/state_law.html 90 days (Chapter 3, 25-312). Source: http://www.azleg.state.az.us/
ars/25/00312.htm
See (1) Education on Effects of Divorce and (2) No-fault Modifications  
Arkansas Law. 3 months. (Code 9-12-307). Source: http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/newwebcode/
lpext.dll?f=templates&fn=main-j.htm&2.0
The venue requirements may be waived in Arkansas if the parties have already been living separately for at least 12 months. Otherwise, the parties must wait 30 days before the decree can be entered. (Code 9-12-310). Source: http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/newwebcode/
lpext.dll?f=templates&fn=main-j.htm&2.0
See Education on Effects of Divorce  
California Law. 6 months. Family Code Section 2330-2348. Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/paralegal/calif.htm 6 months (Family Code Section 2320-2322) Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/
paralegal/calif.htm
See No-fault Modifications Law. California mandates either mediation or court-approved education for all custody and visitation disputes. California Civil Code Section 4370.6(a) (See California Family Code section 271). Source: http://www.smartmarriages.com/
texaswhitepaper.html
Colorado   90 days (Code Section 19-4-4). Source: http://www.state.co.us/gov_dir/stateleg.html See Education on Effects of Divorce  
Connecticut   1 year (Sec. 46b-44). Source: http://www.cga.state.ct.us/ See Education on Effects of Divorce  
Delaware   6 months (Title 13, Chapter 15) Source: http://www.legis.state.de.us/
Legislature.nsf/?Opendatabase
   
District of Columbia   6 months (Title 16, Chapter 9) Source: http://www.dccouncil.washington.dc.us/   The court may order either or both spouses to attend parenting classes in those cases in which child custody is an issue. [District of Columbia Code Annotated; Title 16, Chapter 9, Sections 911(2)d]. Source: http://www.uslaw.com/library/
article/nodixDC.html?area_id=15
  Minimum Period Until Divorce is Granted (a) Residency Requirement (c)    
Florida   6 months (Chapter 741) Source: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/
Welcome/index.cfm
See Education on Effects of Divorce  
Georgia Law. Bill HB1472 passed in 1998. Divorce shall not be granted until 180 days from the date of service; Source: http://www2.state.ga.us/Legis/
1997_98/leg/fulltext/hb1472.htm
6 months (§§ 19-4-1 through 19-6-47) Source: http://www.ganet.org/services/newleg/ See No-fault Modifications  
Hawaii   6 months (Chapter 580) Source: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/
site1/docs/docs.asp
See Education on Effects of Divorce  
Idaho   6 weeks (§§ 32-501 through 32-901) Source: http://www2.state.id.us/legislat/legislat.html    
Illinois Law. Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. 6 months. Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/paralegal/state_law.html 90 days (Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act). Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/
paralegal/state_law.html
See Education on Effects of Divorce  
Indiana Law. TITLE 31 Article 15. 60 days. Source: http://www.state.in.us/legislative/
ic/code/title31/ar15/ch2.html
One of the spouses must have been a resident of the state for 6 months and the county in which the petition is filed for 3 months immediately prior to filing for dissolution of marriage. [Annotated Indiana Code; 31-1-11.5-6]. Source: http://www.state.in.us/legislative/
ic/code/title31/ar15/ch2.html
   
Iowa Law. Section 598.19. 90 days. Source: http://www2.legis.state.ia.us/
IACODE/1999/598/19.html
1 year (Chapter 598). Source: http://www2.legis.state.ia.us/
IACODE/1999/598/19.html
See Education on Effects of Divorce Law. Chapter 598.7 of state statute. Iowa mandates either mediation or court-approved education for all custody and visitation disputes. Source: http://www.smartmarriages.com/
texaswhitepaper.html
Kansas   60 days (Chapter 23) Source: http://www.accesskansas.org/legislative/ See (1) Education on Effects of Divorce and (2) No-fault Modifications Law. The state has a contract with a private provider to offer divorce education workshops and dispute resolution to divorcing parents. The mediation is voluntary in some counties but mandated in others at the judge's discretion. Source: National Center for Children in Poverty (1999).
Kentucky   180 days (KRS Chapter 403.00) Source: http://www.lrc.state.ky.us/legislat/legislat.htm See Education on Effects of Divorce  
Louisiana Law. 180 days. Source: http://www.legis.state.la.us/tsrs/
tsrs.asp?lawbody=RS&title=13&section=3491
6 months (Title 5, Chapter 1) Source: http://www.legis.state.la.us/    
Maine   6 months (Title 19, Chapter 130) Source: http://janus.state.me.us/legis/    
Maryland   1 year (§§ 8-101 through 8-213) Source: http://mlis.state.md.us/ See Education on Effects of Divorce  
Massachusetts Law. General Laws of Massachusetts, Chapter 208. 90-day waiting period after hearing before final divorce for contested/uncontested fault divorce. 120-day waiting period for no-fault divorce. Source: http://www.state.ma.us/legis/
laws/mgl/gl-208-toc.htm
If the grounds for divorce occurred in Massachusetts, one spouse must be a resident. If the grounds occurred outside of the state, the spouse filing must have been a resident for 1 year. The divorce should be filed for in the county in which the spouses last lived together. If neither spouse currently lives in that county then the divorce may be filed for in a county where either spouse currently resides. [Massachusetts General Laws Annotated; Chapter 208, Sections 4, 5, and 6]. Source: http://www.state.ma.us/
legis/laws/mgl/gl-208-toc.htm
   
Michigan   6 months (Chapter 552) Source: http://www.michiganlegislature.org/ See (1) Education on Effects of Divorce and (2) No-fault Modifications  
Minnesota   180 days (Chapter 518) See Education on Effects of Divorce  
Mississippi   6 months (Title 93, Chapter 5) Source: http://www.peer.state.ms.us/    
Missouri Law. Missouri Revised Statutes Chapter 452. 30 days. Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/paralegal/state_law.html 90 days (Missouri Revised Statutes Chapter 452) Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/
paralegal/state_law.html
See Education on Effects of Divorce Law. Chapter 452. Some circuits offer mediation at no charge or at low cost to address issues dealing with custody and visitation. Source: National Center for Children in Poverty (1999).
Montana   90 days (Montana Code 40-4-104) See (1) No-fault Modifications and (2) Education on Effects of Divorce  
Nebraska Law. Passed 1989. 60 days. Source: http://statutes.unicam.state.ne.us/Corpus/
statutes/chap42/R4203063_42-363.html
1 year (42-349) Source: http://statutes.unicam.state.ne.us/
Corpus/Statutes/chap42/R4203049.html
See Education on Effects of Divorce  
Nevada   6 weeks (NRS 125.020) Source: http://www.leg.state.nv.us/    
New Hampshire   1 year (Title 43, Chapter 458) See (1) Education on Effects of Divorce and (2) No-fault Modifications  
New Jersey   1 year    
New Mexico   6 months See Education on Effects of Divorce Law. Court ordered marriage clinics through the Office of Courts, which provide eval. of both parents and mediation prior to divorce. Source: APHSA 2001 Survey
New York   1 year (Chapter 14, Article 10-12)    
North Carolina   6 months (Chapter 50)    
North Dakota   6 months (Chapter 14-05)    
Ohio   6 months (Title 31, Chapter 31-05) Source: http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/search.cfm    
Oklahoma Law. Section §43-134. 30 days waiting period if minor children. Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/paralegal/state_law.html 6 months (Oklahoma Statutes Annotated; Title 43, Sections 102 and 103) Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/
paralegal/state_law.html
Bill. SB 28 (2001). Would have abolished “incompatibility” as grounds for divorce when there were children under 18. Failed. Source: http://www.divorcereform.org

Also, see Waiting Periods before Divorce is Granted

 
Oregon Law. Title 11-107. 90 days. Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/paralegal/state_law.html 6 months (Title 11-107) http://www.cyberstation.net/
paralegal/state_law.html
   
Pennsylvania   6 months (Title 23, Part 3) Source: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/ See Education on Effects of Divorce  
Rhode Island   1 year (Chapter 15-5)    
South Carolina 90 days. SECTION 20-3-80. Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/paralegal/SCarolin.htm The spouse filing for divorce must have been a resident of South Carolina for at least 1 year, unless both spouses are residents, in which case the spouse filing must only have been a resident for 3 months. [Code of Laws of South Carolina; Chapter 3, Sections 20-3-30, 20-3-60, and 20-3-80]. Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/
paralegal/SCarolin.htm
   
South Dakota   None (§ 25-4-30) Source: http://legis.state.sd.us/index.cfm    
Tennessee Law. Section § 36-4. 60 days if no minor children/90 days if there are minor children. Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/paralegal/state_law.html 6 months (§ 36-4-104) Source: http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/ (1) See Education on Effects of Divorce (2) See Waiting Periods before Divorce is Granted  
Texas Law. Title 1, Subtitle C. 60 days. Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/paralegal/state_law.html 6 months (Title 1, Subtitle C) Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/
paralegal/state_law.html
See Education on Effects of Divorce  
Utah (1) Law. Title 30 -- Chapter 03. 90 days. Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/paralegal/state_law.html

(2) Bill. SB120 (1997). Died in House. Removes the exemption to the waiting period after filing for divorce if educational course is completed. Source: http://www.le.state.ut.us/~1997/bills/sbillamd/SB0120.htm

90 days (Title 30 -- Chapter 03) Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/
paralegal/state_law.html
See Education on Effects of Divorce Law. Utah Code, Section 30-3-38. Since 1995, all couples requesting a divorce are required to receive mediation, whether or not they have children. Source: National Center for Children in Poverty (1999).
Vermont Law. Title15 Chapter 11. 1 year. Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/paralegal/state_law.html 6 months (Title15 Chapter 11) Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/
paralegal/state_law.html
See Education on Effects of Divorce  
Virginia Bill. H.B. 2132 (2001). Would have increased the waiting period from one to two years. Failed. Source: http://www.divorcereform.org. 6 months (§§ 20-96, 20-97) Source: http://legis.state.va.us/vaonline/v.htm See (1) No-fault Modifications and (2) Education on Effects of Divorce  
Washington Law. Title 26, Chapter 9. 90 days. Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/paralegal/state_law.html 1 year (§ 26.09.030) Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/
paralegal/state_law.html
See No-fault Modifications  
West Virginia   1 year (§§ 48-2-5 to 48-2-8) Source: http://www.legis.state.wv.us/    
Wisconsin   6 months (§§ 767.05, 767.083) Source: http://www.legis.state.wi.us/billtrack.html See Education on Effects of Divorce Law. Chapter 767.24 Statute. Wisconsin mandates either mediation or court-approved education for all custody and visitation disputes Source: http://www.legis.state.wi.us/
rsb/Statutes.html
Wyoming (1) Bill. Grants immediate divorce to certain couples who craft their own settlements without attorneys. Source: http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/
news/archive/local_962168.shtml
.

(2) Law. 20 days. Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/paralegal/state_law.html

60 days (§§ 20-2-104, 20-2-107, 20-2-108) Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/
paralegal/state_law.html
   
Notes:
  1. Waiting period: period from the date one files for divorce and the date the court grants the divorce
  2. Blank cell under waiting period means that state has no waiting period
  3. Residency requirement is requirement for a spouse seeking divorce to be a resident of that state before filing for a divorce there. Source: http://www.abanet.org
Table Sources:
  • American Public Human Services Association (APHSA), 2001. State Efforts to Promote Marriage, Family Formation and Prevent Family Disintegration. APHSA: Washington, D.C.
  • National Center for Children in Poverty, 1999. State Initiatives to Encourage Responsible Fatherhood, 1999 Edition. Columbia University: New York, N.Y.