In California, a person can file a petition for divorce if they have been a resident of the State of California for at least six months. Additionally, you must be a resident of the county in which you currently reside and intend to file your petition for at least three months.
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Divorce Residency Requirements
Divorce residency requirements must be met for a person to file for divorce. Your residency is where you are domiciled; the place where you intend to permanently remain. A person can only have one residency even though spouses can have their own individual residencies.
In California the divorce residency requirements are that at least one of the parties must have resided in California for at least six months prior to filing, and in the county where he/she plans to file for the divorce, for the prior three months.
Filing for Divorce
A Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and Summons may be filed with the Superior Court in the county where one of the spouses has resided for the past three months. The Petitioner, spouse who is filing, must serve the Respondent, other spouse, with copies of the Petition and other paperwork.
After filing for divorce, there is a mandatory six month waiting period before the divorce may become final.
If you are not a California resident and do not meet the divorce residency requirements you can still file for legal separation. Later, upon complying with the divorce residency requirements you can then amend your petition to a divorce action. A legal separation allow an individual to obtain the same relief as you would receive in a divorce including: determining child custody, child support, spousal support, and dividing community and separate property. However, a legal separation does not change the couple’s marital status. This means that you are still legally married and cannot legally marry another person until you obtain a divorce.
The date of amendment petition is considered to be the date of the commencement of your divorce. In California there is a six month waiting period after the commencement for the dissolution to become finalized. You cannot remarry until six months after you have served your spouse with a petition for divorce.
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