In order for a Florida court to have subject matter jurisdiction over a divorce proceeding, Florida Statute § 61.021 requires that “one of the parties to the marriage must reside 6 months in the state before filing the petition.” Florida’s residency requirement must be satisfied in order for the court to have jurisdiction over a divorce proceeding. This means that jurisdiction must be alleged and proven in every divorce proceeding. Mikulec v. Mikulec, 47 So.3d 851 (Fla. 4th DCA 2010), citing Cleveland v. Cleveland, 692 So.2d 304, 305 (Fla. 4th DCA 1997). Testimony to establish residency cannot be waived by an opposing party who admits that the residency requirement has been satisfied. Id.
The petitioning spouse has the burden of proving that the residency requirement in a divorce proceeding has been satisfied. Mikulec, 47 So.3d at 852, citing Coons v. Coons, 765 So.2d 167, 170 (Fla. 1st DCA 2000). The residency requirement in a Florida divorce means “an actual presence in Florida coupled with an intention at that time to make Florida the residence.” Jenkins v. Jenkins, 556 So.2d 441, 442 (Fla. 4th DCA 1990), quoting Gillman v. Gillman, 413 So.2d 412, 413 (Fla. 4th DCA 1982). However, actual presence is not required during the entire six month period. Jenkins, 556 So.2d at 442. Instead, what is required is a “concurrent showing that the establishment of actual permanent residence is intended and evidence of fulfilling this intention.” Id., citing Bloomfield v. City of St. Petersburg Beach, 82 So.2d 364 (Fla. 1955).
Actual presence is required in order to establish residency. It is not enough for a petitioner in a Florida divorce to allege “mere maintenance of a vacation or other temporary home in the state.” Gilman, 413 So.2d at 413. Even if a person satisfies the six month residency requirement, doing so does not “forever after entitle the petitioner to invoke the jurisdiction of our courts.” Id., citing Gordon v. Gordon, 369 So.2d 421 (Fla. 3d DCA 1979). To satisfy the residency requirement, the petitioning spouse must testify as to his or her actual presence in the state and their intention to make Florida his or her residence at that time. This testimony must be corroborated by other testimony or objective evidence. Gilman, 413 So.2d at 414. Whether or not a party is a resident of the State of Florida in a divorce proceeding under section 61.021 is a question of both law and fact that must be determined according to the facts of each particular case.