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Navigating Divorce Law
Statutory Residence Prerequisites for a Divorce in California

In order to satisfy the residency requirements to get a divorce, or dissolution of marriage in the State of California, at least one of the spouses must have been a resident of California for at least six (6) months prior to filing the Petition for Dissolution, and a resident of the particular County where the action is to be filed, for at least three (3) months prior to the filing. [California Family Code, A§2320.]

The above-mentioned residency requirements apply only to divorces, or dissolution of marriage, as there is no residency requirement for Annulments or Legal Separations. It should be noted that if neither spouse presently satisfies the statutory residency requirements, but want to pursue a divorce/dissolution of marriage without delay, they have the option of filing for a Legal Separation, and then amending the Petition or Response, (depending on whether the party is the Petitioner or Respondent, to request a divorce/dissolution once the residency requirements are met. See California Family Code, A§2321(a), as well as the case of: Forster vs. Superior Court (Forster), (1992) 11 Cal.App.4th 782, 785-786.

Do the residency requirements apply to California Registered Domestic Partnership Dissolutions?

The answer is no. Beginning January 1, 2005, domestic partners who register their partnership with the California Secretary of State, consent to California jurisdiction to dissolve the partnership, without any residency requirements. [California Family Code, A§298(c)]. However, with respect to Domestic Partnerships that were entered into out-of-state, the same residency requirements for a California Divorce/Dissolution of Marriage apply.


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To file for divorce, one spouse must have lived in California for the last six months, and the county where the action is filed for the last three months. Spouses who have lived in California for at least six months, but in different counties for at least three months can file in either county. These California residency requirements must be met in order for the court to have jurisdiction of the case.
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