The Turner/Jonas Divorce is Here: What is “Jurisdiction” in Divorce?

Tue 17th October, 2023 Family Law

The pop culture world was shattered this past month when English Actress Sophie Turner and boy band member Joe Jonas announced that they were pursuing a divorce. Both these individuals are respected in their own right, and together they were a favorite couple that crossed several fandoms.

One other wide-sweeping aspect of their relationship is citizenship, itself. As mentioned above, Ms. Turner is a British native. Mr. Jonas, on the other hand, was born and raised in the U.S.A. How, then, will this divorce be processed? This article aims to briefly discuss some basic ideas surrounding what court may hear/process a divorce case, a legal term known as a court’s “jurisdiction.”

What is Jurisdiction

The legal term “jurisdiction” refers to a court’s ability to process/oversee decisions in a particular case. Every state has developed its own rules surrounding what set of circumstances must be satisfied in order for the court to have jurisdiction over a case.

The legal concept of jurisdiction works to ensure that only a court with a legitimate interest in the case can hear and process the case. For example, a couple married in California, who lived in California for five years, and currently has their family home in California, would not appear to be a good candidate for seeking a divorce from a Colorado court.

Intentions and Jurisdiction

News broke recently that Ms. Turner’s legal team has submitted to the court that is currently overseeing their case a letter from Mr. Jonas to a homeowner in England. This letter appears to be Mr. Jonas speaking earlier this same year about the intention he and his wife had to raise their children in England. It appears that the letter is being used to demonstrate that the couple intended for the children to be raised in England.

It is important to understand that matters of jurisdiction are matters of what has happened – not what will happen. In determining whether a court has jurisdiction over a case they will not examine what a couple planned to do – or even what a couple may be in the midst of doing. The California courts will only accept a petition of divorce if at least one spouse has lived in California for the six previous, consecutive months. (An individual must also amass at least three months’ worth of time in the particular county where the divorce petition will be processed.)

What you should take away from this is intentions do not matter when it comes to establishing jurisdiction. It does not matter if you really did intend to move – to establish jurisdiction in a specific area the courts will look at what has actually transpired, not future plans.

Think Ahead: Contact the Law Office of Bradley S. Sandler

The above is not to say that you are doomed to carry out your divorce in whatever place you are in when you decide you need to file for divorce. But it does mean that you need to engage in proper planning. The experienced legal minds and Divorce Attorney at the Law Office of Bradley S. Sandler can help you think through any steps you need to take now in order to process your divorce in the manner and location you want. Contact our office today to begin speaking with our team.