Location, Location, Location

January 12, 2009

Location isn’t just important when you’re looking to buy a home, but also when you may be thinking about a divorce. The practice of one party filing a divorce in a far removed county from the residence of either party, which could be the result of low filing fees or the desire to place the divorce action in an inconvenient forum for the other party was dealt a lethal blow by a recent Pennsylvania Superior Court decision. The court established that venue, or the proper court in which you must file for divorce, must be established in court and "on the record" and it is the obligation of the trial court to do so. Venue can be established by residence, written agreement of both parties attached to the Complaint or otherwise made a part of the record, or through participation of both parties in the divorce action as required by other Pennsylvania Rules. Strict compliance is required to establish proper venue and a Divorce Decree issued not in compliance with the above rules can be vacated.

Divorces can not be filed in non-residence counties except with the consent of both parties. While there are occasions where parties may desire to have the divorce action conducted in a county not of their residence, perhaps for privacy reasons, the consent of both parties is required. It is advisable for both attorneys and parties filing for divorce to carefully consider whether it is appropriate to bring an action for divorce in a county where neither party resides.