May 28, 2020

Divorce Residency Requirements; Who Has Jurisdiction?

With 38.8 million residents and being the most populous state in the United States, establishing residency during a divorce in California can become tricky. Many residents live and work in various areas of the country, further adding to the confusion when it comes to determining who actually lives where. When it comes to divorce residency requirements and who has jurisdiction, you need a divorce attorney who is familiar with the state’s laws, specifically in this area.

Why Jurisdiction is Important in Divorces

In order to legally divorce in California, the courts must have jurisdiction. This can be confusing if you or your spouse might not be considered residents of California. Further, jurisdiction is essential when navigating child support and child custody laws or separating property that might be scattered all over the world. In order to divorce in California, the basic requirements are that you or your spouse have lived in California for at least six months, and in the county you are filing your divorce for, at least, three months. Even this requirement can vary if, for example, you are in a same-sex marriage that took place in California, but live in a state that does not dissolve same-sex marriages. Establishing jurisdiction or residency is an often overlooked issue in divorce proceedings that can drastically affect your interests.

Establishing California Residency

Because California is a community property state which requires any property accumulated during the marriage to be evenly separated, you might wonder why jurisdiction or residency even matters. In order for your divorce to be processed as fairly and legally as possible, property jurisdiction and residency must be established by both parties. California law is actually very specific and includes considerations such as the following:

  • Your residence may be the place you remain when not working and where you return in off-seasons.
  • There can only be one residence.
  • Whether or not an unmarried minor child resides at the location.
  • One residence cannot be lost until another is gained.

Although rather specific, you can see where there may be room for confusion. It will take a divorce lawyer with decades of experience in California divorce law to make sure your best interests are protected.

Jurisdiction in Property Disputes

While many divorces involve property disputes, these issues can become more complicated in California. A common jurisdictional dispute might involve joint property in other states, and you’ll have to determine which state has jurisdiction to resolve the dispute. In California, it’s common to include the property in the home state action, but if your spouse doesn’t agree, you’ll need an attorney who can help determine divorce residency requirements and who has jurisdiction over the property to help protect your interests.
No matter which part of the divorce process you are facing, it’s crucial to make sure you have a qualified divorce lawyer in California. You have too much to lose to put jurisdictional or residential issues in the wrong hands. Contact Laurence J. Brock online or call (909) 466-7661 for an initial consultation.

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