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California Divorce Residency Requirements Explained

If you intend to divorce your spouse in the Golden State, there are conditions you need to meet before you can file. One of them is your residency in the state.

If you’re planning a move along with a divorce, it’s wise to understand the residency requirements in California before you start.

The Length Of Your Residency Matters

You can’t just move to California and file for divorce right away. You or your spouse must have lived in California for six months before the filing date. Additionally, at least one of you must have lived in the county you are filing for divorce for a minimum of three months.

It is important to note that you do not both have to meet the residency requirements. If, for example, you moved to California a year ago and your spouse never joined you, you can go ahead and file for divorce where you live.
In some cases, it might be advantageous to obtain a legal separation (which has no residency requirements) from your spouse while you wait out the time necessary to file for divorce.

While legal separation does not end your marriage, it can enable you to lead a separate life away from your spouse. For instance, a judge may order maintenance after reviewing the prevailing circumstances after legal separation from your spouse. It also helps create a bright line that separates the marital property from anything you obtain or earn after the separation.

Understanding The Divorce Process Is Crucial

A lot happens in a divorce from property division to child custody and support. Experienced legal guidance will help you ensure everything is on track and safeguard your rights during the proceedings. Consulting with a California Certified Family Law Specialist can provide the expertise needed to navigate these complex areas efficiently.