Is either a party a resident of the State of California and the county in which the action is to be filed?
One of the parties must be a resident of the State of California for at least six months before the Petition for Dissolution is filed. One of the parties must also be a resident of the county in which the action is to be filed for at least three months before the action is filed. Only one party needs to meet the residency requirements. For example, if the husband is a residence of Nevada and the wife is a resident of the County of Los Angeles, State of California, then either party may file an action for divorce in the Los Angeles Superior Court.
"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." (Fam. Code A?2320.)
How is "residency" determined?
"In determining the place of residence the following rules shall be observed:
(a) It is the place where one remains when not called elsewhere for labor or other special or temporary purpose, and to which he or she returns in seasons of repose.
(b) There can only be one residence.
(c) A residence cannot be lost until another is gained.
(d) The residence of the parent with whom an unmarried minor child maintains his or her place of abode is the residence of such unmarried minor child.
(e) The residence of an unmarried minor who has a parent living cannot be changed by his or her own act.
(f) The residence can be changed only by the union of act and intent.
(g) A married person shall have the right to retain his or her legal residence in the State of California notwithstanding the legal residence or domicile of his or her spouse." (Gov. Code A?244.)
What if the residency requirement is not met?
There is no residency for an action for legal separation. A Petition for Legal Separation may be filed if neither party meets the residency requirement for a divorce. This allows the parties to obtain all of the same relief they could obtain in a divorce action (such as custody, support, and property division), except for a termination of their marital status. Once the residency requirement is met, the petition may be amended to request a dissolution of the marriage. Fam. Code A?2321(a).
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