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Residency & Where to File

In addition to establishing statutory grounds for dissolution, the State Legislature has established residence requirements. These requirements vary based upon the type of union you and your partner are in, and the type of status action you seek. Residency requirements are statutory requirements which must be satisfied before a court may properly entertain a marital status action, and are in addition to the venue requirements imposed by the California Code of Civil Procedure.

  • A Final Judgment of dissolution may not be entered unless one of the parties to the marriage has been a resident of the state of California for at least six months, and of the county in which the proceeding was filed for three months, prior to the filing of the Petition for Dissolution.
  • Venue is proper in the superior court for the county where either Petitioner or Respondent has resided for three months prior to the filing of the Petition for Dissolution.
  • While the venue requirements are the same, the residency requirements for dissolution of a domestic partnership are slightly different. If a party resides in the state of California, the residency requirements for dissolution of marriage apply. However, to ensure that parties who entered into registered domestic partnerships and subsequently moved to a state that does not recognize that union have a means to dissolve their partnership, the Family Code contains a permissive retention of jurisdiction clause. Accordingly, if one or both parties does not reside in the state of California and the jurisdiction in which one or both parties does reside lacks a means to dissolve a domestic partnership, this retention of jurisdiction clause provides a means of access to the California Courts without having to satisfy the residency requirements otherwise in effect.

There are no residency requirements for legal separation; however, the jurisdictional venue requirements do apply. A party may commence an action in the superior court of the county in which either the moving party or the responding party resides. This means that at least one party must be domiciled in a county of the state of California. Additionally, an action for legal separation may be filed, in lieu of an action for dissolution, before the residency requirements are met, and the action may be converted to one for dissolution upon satisfaction of the statutory residency requirements.