Divorce in Rem Law and Legal Definition

In rem means “against the thing.” Cases with in rem jurisdiction are about property or a status rather than a person or a type of case. In divorce cases, in rem jurisdiction gives a court the power to decide the status of the parties’ marriage, and if asked to, a court can end the marriage. It typically occurs when the defendant spouse is a nonresident. Laws vary by state, but it may be possible for a petitioner to file a bill of complaint asking for a divorce in rem, and file separate petitions for determination of custody and support.