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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, 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.
The California court may award alimony/spousal support to either spouse in any amount for any period of time that it deems just and reasonable based on the standard of living during the marriage. The amount of alimony/spousal support and the duration will vary significantly from case-to-case and is often dependent upon the division of property.
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