Residency Requirements for California Divorce

A spouse or couple must meet a few requirements to be eligible to file for a divorce in the Golden State. Every state protects its own jurisdictions, applying the appropriate laws to individual divorce cases. If you do not meet the California residency requirements, the courts might dismiss your case. You do not have to divorce in the same state you married in, but you do have to meet certain California residency requirements.

Basic Elements of Residency Requirements

The main rule to remember is that you or your spouse must live in California to obtain a divorce in California. If neither of you is a resident, the courts will deny your request to file for divorce. You do not both have to be residents, but the spouse filing for the divorce should be one. As in other states, California courts require that you meet a few conditions before they will hear a divorce case.

In California, either you or your spouse must have been a state resident for at least six months prior to filing. You also must have lived a minimum of three months in the county you are filing for divorce within. If you or your spouse has been a California resident for at least six months but not a resident of your county for three months, you can file in the county you previously lived in. If you and your spouse live in separate counties, file in the county that you have lived in for at least three months.

You and your spouse do not have to live together to file for divorce. You can each have separate residences in separate counties, as long as one or both of you have resided in one county for at least three months before filing. As long as you fulfill the residency requirements and you and your spouse have irreconcilable differences, you can file for divorce.

In California, you do not have to prove your spouse guilty of anything. This is a no-fault divorce state, meaning you only have to reach a fair agreement about the terms of divorce for the courts to accept your request. Hire an experienced attorney to make orders about things specific to your case, such as child support orders, name change orders, spousal support orders, and division of property.

What If I Do Not Meet the Residency Requirements?

If you do not meet the residency requirements to file for divorce in California, you can file for a legal separation until you meet the requirements for divorce. You can hire a family attorney in San Diego, CA to walk you through the separation. Once you separate legally, you can amend the petition and ask for a divorce once enough time has passed and you meet the requirements. If you do not meet the requirements but your spouse does, consider asking your spouse to file for the divorce.

Sometimes, a couple may meet another state’s residency requirements to file for divorce. If you or your spouse came from a different state that you lived in for at least six months, you can return to that state and file for a divorce. However, you have to check the divorce residency requirements in that state to be sure. This may not be a viable option for couples who cannot or do not wish to go through divorce proceedings in a state other than California.

In the event that you have to wait until you fulfill residency requirements, you can still take steps toward getting a divorce. You can begin to gather the information about divorce in California and contact an experienced attorney at Boyd Law about your situation. Karie Boyd is a certified family law specialist and the founding partner of Boyd Law. She has many years of successful experience practicing family and divorce law throughout the state of California.