California Court's Power to make Divorce Orders When One Spouse Does Not Live in California.

California Court’s Power to make Divorce Orders When One Spouse Does Not Live in California

This is a common question among people contemplating divorce in California when the other spouse does not live in the state. The California Courts has the power to grant a divorce, annulment, or legal separation if either party is domiciled in the state. Domicile is where a person lives and intends to remain. However, there is an additional requirement if you are seeking a divorce rather than annulment or legal separation. To obtain a divorce in California, one of the parties must have been a resident of California for six months immediately before the filing of the divorce petition. Responding spouses can use this requirement as a defense if the Petitioning spouse does not meet such requirement when the petitioner filed for divorce. In addition, divorce petitions may be filed in the county where at least one spouse resided for 3 months immediately prior to filing the petition.

Now apart from getting a divorce, legal separation, or annulled status, there may be issues relating to distributing community and separate properties between the spouses and awarding support payments. In order for the California Courts to have the power to make orders, the California Courts must have personal jurisdiction over the respondent. Personal jurisdiction means the respondent has minimum contacts with California even if not physically here. Some of the factors looked at is respondents presence in the state, domicile, residence, citizenship, consent, appearance in the action, doing business in the state, doing an act that causes an effect in the state, ownership in the state, other relationship to the state. If the respondent does not have minimum contact with California, respondent may challenge any orders relating to distribution of property and support based on the court’s lack of jurisdiction.

With regards to initial child custody issues, these issues are resolved under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. California Courts have the power to make initial custody orders if it is the child’s home state at the time the action was filed. California may also assume power to make custody orders if California has been the child’s home state within six months before the action was filed, the child is absent form California, and a parent continues to live in California. California may also exercise jurisdiction when no other state is the child’s home state or when all court’s having jurisdiction over the child has declined to act and deferred to California as the more appropriate place to make custody orders. California may also exercise jurisdiction if no other state would have jurisdiction over the child.

Please note that this article is not legal advice and is not intended as legal advice. The article is intended to provide only general, non-specific legal information. This article is not intended to cover all the issues related to the topic discussed. The specific facts that apply to your matter may make the outcome different than would be anticipated by you. This article does not create any attorney-client relationship between you and the Law Offices of Kenneth U. Reyes, P.C. This article is not a solicitation.

Attorney Kenneth Ursua Reyes is a Board Certified Family Law Specialist. He was President of the Philippine American Bar Association. He is a member of both the Family law section and Immigration law section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. He is a graduate of Southwestern University Law School in Los Angeles and California State University, San Bernardino School of Business Administration. He has extensive former CPA experience prior to law practice. LAW OFFICES OF KENNETH REYES, P.C. is located at 3699 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 700, Los Angeles, CA, 90010. Tel. (213) 388-1611 or e-mail or visit our website at

Related Posts
  • Can my children’s derivative Social Security Benefits be offset against my monthly Child Support Obligation? Read More
  • How to obtain Custody and Visitation Rights of your Children from your Baby Mama Read More
  • Family Law Issues during the COVID-19 Pandemic Read More