A doctor from a rural Ohio county walked into my office one Friday morning and stated that his wife had moved to a large urban county some months ago and had recently filed for divorce in her county. His wife, who was unemployed, had moved to a county which historically awarded more spousal support and for a longer duration than the doctor's home county. How could he keep from being divorced in the court selected by his wife?
As it turns out, the doctor became aware of his wife's complaint because his professional practice was served with the divorce complaint, but not him personally, an important distinction.
We immediately prepared the complaint for divorce and necessary accompanying documents to file in the doctor's rural county, all while the doctor was in the office. We sent a courier the two hours to the doctor's county, filed a divorce action there, and had the court appoint our process server to serve the wife, which he did that night.
Venue is the determination of which county is the appropriate county for a legal action, in this case, a divorce. There can be, and often are, more than one county where a divorce action between a particular couple is appropriate. When that is true, and divorce actions are filed in more than one county, the key is to be the first to serve the divorce papers on the other spouse.
The large urban county dismissed the wife's divorce case, the rural county tried and decided the case, and the doctor saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in spousal support over the life of the award.
Many lawyers do not understand the distinction between venue and jurisdiction. Jurisdiction (generally what state is proper and what court is proper for a particular action) differs greatly from venue. The rules that apply to each are different for each. ;A keen understanding of the law is crucial to success. We put our knowledge and experience to work to protect our client's interests.