Q&A: What Does "Forum Shopping" mean in Divorce Parlance?

Think of it this way: The “forum” is another word for the “place” and “place” is another word for “venue” or “court.”¬†When you go forum shopping in your divorce, you are looking for a place, you are “shopping” for a place or the place where you get the best outcome, be it in terms of custody, spousal support, or speedy results, or what have you.

Years ago, Divorce Saloon ran this post about forum shopping in New York. One famous defendant was trying to move the venue of his divorce or to “forum shop” his divorce from Manhattan to Millbrook.

Forum shopping can be done on multiple levels: municipal, state, country, even continent. It is local as well as international. For example, if you get a court in Millbrook to hear your divorce vs a court in Manhattan, you may have a little bit more privacy, for one thing, but the judges may be more friendly to certain types of litigants, and depending on your situation, this could be a consideration for you.

But you could be trying to get the proceeding heard in another state altogether. For example, you are in an equitable distribution state like New Jersey and you want to move the case to California because you believe a community property state is better in your situation.
On the other hand, maybe you want to move across countries, for example from Norway to UK or from Korea to Hong Kong or from France to the USA. All these scenarios would qualify as “forum shopping.”