Courts must have jurisdiction over the cases they hear. A husband recently challenged the jurisdiction of the Washington court that dissolved his marriage. To petition for divorce in Washington, the petitioner or their spouse must be a resident of Washington. RCW 26.09.030. Washington courts have held that this means a party must be domiciled in Washington.
The wife was a Polish citizen and the husband was a Swiss citizen. They got married in Switzerland in 2012 and then moved with their children to Washington in 2014. They both worked in Washington and enrolled their children in local schools and activities.
The parties separated in October of 2018 and the wife filed for divorce the following April. The husband argued the court did not have jurisdiction over the divorce because he and the children were not domiciled in Washington. The wife testified that the husband’s job was a permanent position and they had no solid plans to go back to Switzerland. She said she considered the move to Washington to be “a new beginning.” She said she intended to remain in Washington permanently with the children, her fiancé, and her new baby.