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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, A2320.]

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, A2321(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, A298(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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In a summary dissolution, a hearing with the judge is typically not needed. A marriage of five years or less may be ended by summary dissolution, which is a simplified procedure to terminate a marriage in the state of California. With a summary dissolution, a joint petition is filed when 1) either spouse meets the standard residency requirement, 2) the marriage is irretrievably broken down due to irreconcilable differences, 3) the marriage is childless, 4) the wife is not pregnant, 5) neither spouse owns real estate, 6) there are no unpaid debts greater than $4,000, 7) the total value of community property is less than $25,000, 8) neither spouse has separate property (excluding cars and loans) of greater than $25,000, 9) the spouses have reached an agreement regarding the division and distributions of assets and liabilities, 10) both waive their rights to maintenance and appeal; 11) both have read a brochure about summary dissolution and 12) both desire to end the marriage.
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