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In Search of a Quickie Divorce?

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Shutterstock/Dirk Ercken

Shutterstock/Dirk Ercken

Once upon a time, the state of Alabama offered couples looking for a “quickie divorce” a good option. In fact, as noted by columnist Steve Flowers, between the years of 1945 and 1970, the so-called Bible Belt state “flourished as a divorce mill” and was even labeled as the divorce capital of the country by a Time magazine article in 1962.

This distinction came about because of an Alabama law passed in 1945 that did away with the requirement that the petitioners for divorce had to be state residents for one year. The possibility of a quickie divorce even attracted celebrities and made many an Alabama lawyer quite wealthy in the process.

Today, however, Alabama requires that the plaintiff in a divorce proceeding to have been a resident of the state for at least six months if the defendant is not a resident. Most states, in fact, have a similar residency requirement and/or a “cooling off” period that can prolong divorce proceedings.

So what is a couple in search of a quickie divorce to do?

Perhaps not surprisingly, the state of Nevada, in addition to being famous for its offering of the quickie marriage, is also the best state in the country for those seeking a fast divorce. Even Nevada, however, does require in-state residency of at least six weeks before filing.

Some other options for U.S. residents are the Dominican Republic and Guam, though each has some potential hurdles as well. For instance, the Dominican Republic requires that at least one party attend the divorce hearing and also, many states do not recognize the validity of a divorce granted there.

A divorce in Guam, however, is recognized in all U.S. states as the territory falls under U.S. jurisdiction, but there is a 90-day residency requirement, which can often be sidestepped through the use of loopholes in the law. A Guam divorce may be granted in as little as a few days.

So although Alabama may be out of the question for those who want to get unhitched quickly, there are still other options out there for a quickie divorce — especially if you’re willing to travel, armchair or otherwise.

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January 31st, 2014 at 3:08 pm

Posted in Divorce

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