Home DIVORCE LAWYERS & LAW TOPICS Divorce Cases & Analysis Which county is the proper county for a divorce? Let’s go forum...

Which county is the proper county for a divorce? Let’s go forum shopping for the best divorce outcome!

Blaine Trump gets divorced in Duchess County?

When Blaine Trump and her hubby whatshisface Trump (Donald’s brother?) were in the initial stages of their divorce when he tried to get the divorce moved from New York County to upstate somewhere…Duchess County. I think I read he lives in Millbrook and that he wanted to get the case tried up there. And the court in New York County was like, no. Your case stays right here in New York City. You are not getting another forum. This here, NY, is a proper forum. Sure you have a spread in Duchess (and maybe even a girlfriend). But New York is one of your resident counties and the case stays here.

Why would Mr. Trump want to move the case to Millbrook? Why would anybody want to “move” a divorce case to anywhere? What is this idea of forum shopping? It could be any number of reasons. Maybe the judges in Millbrook have a bad reputation of socking it to trophy wives? Who knows. But that issue is an important part of divorce planning–picking your venue. You want to pick the venue that has the best chance of giving you the best outcome. But it has to conform to the rules of the DRL and the CPLR.

As a general rule, the DRL states that in a divorce action, the case may be heard in either (a) the resident county of the plaintiff; (b) the resident county of the defendant; (c) any county so long as the defendant does not object. Says CPLR 503:

Venue shall be based on the county in which one of the parties resided when trial was commenced; or if none of the parties then resided in the state, in any county designated by the plaintiff.

Says Domestic Relations Laws (“DRL”) Section 1.8:

Litigants must bring their action in the proper county for the commencement of a divorce or separation action. Venue is governed by the CPLR and is generally the county in which one of the parties (usually the plaintiff) resided when the action was commenced. A party who resides in more than one county shall be deemed a resident of each such county.

CPLR 509:

….[venue] shall be in the county designated by the plaintiff, unless the place of trial is changed to another county by order upon motion, or by consent as provided in subdivision (b) of rule 511.

CPLR 511:

Time for motion or demand. A demand under subdivision (b) for change of place of trial on the ground that the county designated for that purpose is not a proper county shall be served with the answer or before the answer is served. A motion for change of place of trial on any other ground shall be made within a reasonable time after commencement of the action.

I could go on. But I will not do this to you. I will spare you the painful details. The bottom line of this post, and the takeaway is, if you are the plaintiff in a divorce action in New York you can pretty much bring your divorce in any county you choose but if it is not where either you or the defendant live, the defendant can move to change the venue to a county of residence of either the plaintiff or defendant. In Donald’s brother’s case, his wife, I think, brought the case in Manhattan. The parties obviously have a place in the city and they also have one in Millbrook. (btw, where is Milbrook?) and so it was proper for Blaine to bring the case in New York County. That is why her husband’s motion to move the case was defeated. As long as they have a residence in the county, it is a proper venue for the divorce–and the plaintiff gets first dip in deciding which county the show will be heard.

by New York Divorce attorney www.mynewyorkdivorceattorney.com

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