How Do I Modify My Address on a Petition for Divorce Form if I Recently Moved?
By Beverly Bird
In all jurisdictions, divorce petitions require that you include your address. In conjunction with your statement regarding how long you’ve lived in the state where you're filing, this certifies that you’ve met residency requirements. However, you’re not required to remain at the same address throughout the divorce process. After you’ve filed for divorce and established residency, your address and contact information is only important so the court knows where to reach you.
Most states do not require you to actually modify your address on your petition when you move. Your petition remains valid if you relocate. In these states, such as New Hampshire, you must only fill out a change-of-address form with the court, citing the address you used in your petition and providing your current address. You can usually get the forms from the court clerk; some states make them available on their websites.
If your state does require that you modify your petition, or if you want to change other information in your petition in addition to your address, you can file an amended petition for divorce. This is a new version of your original petition, replacing the old information with current information and adding any new points which you want to include. However, many states require a second filing fee for an amended petition, and you must go through the time and expense of serving your spouse with the amended version just as you did with the original version. If all you’re changing is your address, and your state doesn’t require an amended petition, it probably wouldn't be worth it. Some states, such as Idaho, also have time limits for when you can do this; after a certain amount of days, you have to proceed with your petition as you initially filed it unless the court gives you special permission to amend it.
Domestic Violence Precautions
If you moved because your spouse has threatened you or because you’re a victim of domestic violence, many states don’t require that you include your address in your petition at all. For example, if you file a petition for an order of protection in Arizona, you can request that your address not be included in any of your divorce papers. This prevents your spouse from locating you again and potentially hurting you. If you submit a notification of change of address and you’re worried about a situation such as this, ask the clerk what you can do to prevent your address from appearing on future court notices so it's disclosed to your spouse.
If you have children and child support is a factor in your divorce, most states require that payments go through their child support collection units. In this case, you would also have to notify the collection unit that you’ve moved. They can keep your address confidential as well if you request it. Check with your court clerk to find out if there are any other agencies you must notify.
- Ada County, Idaho: Completing Form D-16A – Amended Complaint for Divorce (PDF)
- New Hampshire Judicial Branch: Notification of Change of Address (PDF)
- FindLaw: Filing and Serving the Divorce/Dissolution Petition
- Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court: General Questions
- The Judicial Branch of Arizona, Maricopa County: How to Fill Out “Petition for Dissolution of Marriage (Divorce) (PDF)
Beverly Bird is a practicing paralegal who has been writing professionally on legal subjects for over 30 years. She specializes in family law and estate law and has mediated family custody issues.