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California: Residency Requirements for Divorce in California

California has its own dissolution of marriage laws regarding who is eligible to file for a divorce. Each state protects its jurisdiction and makes sure the appropriate laws are applied to the appropriate cases. To prevent your case from being dismissed, make sure you meet the California residency requirements. The most common mistake people make is believing they must divorce in the state in which they were married. This is simply not true. Most divorce cases throughout the United States are filed in the county in which the filing spouse resides.

California Filing Requirements: In order to file for a dissolution of marriage in California, residency requirements must be met for the court to accept the case. If the court discovers it does not have jurisdictional rights to hear the case it will not be accepted or it will eventually be dismissed. The requirements are as follows:

A judgment of dissolution of marriage may not be entered unless one of the parties to the marriage has been a resident of this state for six months and of the county in which the proceeding is filed for three months next preceding the filing of the petition.

For the purpose of a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, the husband and wife each may have a separate domicile or residence depending upon proof of the fact and not upon legal presumptions. (California Code - Sections: 297, 298, 2320, 2339)

Copyright Notice: The above synopsis of California residency requirements for divorce is original material which is owned an copyrighted by Divorce Source, Inc. This material has been adapted from applicable state laws and unauthorized reproduction is prohibited. Violation of this notice will result in immediate legal action.

If you discover that you DO NOT meet at least one of the above residency requirements, you can consider the following 4 options:

1. Do not proceed with a divorce and attempt to save your marriage.
2. Establish residency in California for the period time set forth above (this does not mean you have to wait to begin the process of getting your documents).
3. Have your spouse do the filing if he or she meets the necessary residency requirements for California.
4. Choose another state in which you or your spouse may meet the residency requirements (all state residency laws are unique, so be sure to check the state in which you were married as a potential option).
Related Divorce Resources:
- Start Your California Divorce Today (5 Great Options!)
- Locate a California Divorce Professional Near You
- Read More About California Divorce Laws

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