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What are the residency requirements to obtain a divorce/dissolution, legal separation, or nullity?

  • By: Lorilee Desantis
  • Published: August 21, 2020

Dissolution/divorce/nullity: A Final Judgment of Dissolution or Nullity may not be entered unless one of the parties has been a California resident for the last six months, and a resident of the County in which the Petition was filed for the last three months, prior to the filing of the Petition for Dissolution or Nullity. Venue is proper in the Superior Court for the County where the Petitioner or Respondent has resided for the three months prior to the filing of the Petition for Dissolution or Nullity. The residency requirements for same sex couples who married in California but reside in jurisdictions which do not dissolve same sex marriage are different. A Judgment for Dissolution, Legal Separation or Nullity may be entered even if neither spouse is a resident of, or maintains a domicile in, California at the time the proceedings are filed if (1) the marriage was entered into in California and (2) neither party resides in a jurisdiction that will dissolve the marriage. For these same sex spouses, venue is proper in the county in which the couple was married.

Legal separation: There is no minimum amount of time a party must reside in California before filing a Petition for Legal Separation. A party may file a Petition for Legal Separation in the Superior Court of the county in which either the moving party or the responding party resides. A party which does not meet the residency requirements to file for a Dissolution of Marriage may instead file a Petition for Legal Separation and then convert the action to one for Dissolution once the residency requirements are met.

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