A marriage is far more than an emotional investment; it is also a financial
investment as every married person will certainly confirm. In the state
of California and in every other jurisdiction, there is what is called
a "residency requirement," and this refers to how long you must
have lived in the state of California before you can file for divorce.
The topic over "jurisdiction" has been highly publicized in
the media as of late with the infamous Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes divorce.
Many in the legal profession have noted how Katie's decision to file for
divorce in New York over the state of California was most certainly a tactical
maneuver, especially since New York's reluctance to grant joint custody
to volatile couples was most likely a key factor in her decision to file
in New York.
For couples who have lived in the state of California all their lives or
for a number of years, residency requirements aren't a cause for concern.
However, for those couples that have recently moved to the sunshine state,
or for those couples who split their time between continents or for affluent
couples who keep homes on the East and West Coasts, then determining which
court has jurisdiction will certainly be a key and dominating factor in
their divorce. Not only that, but each state handles divorce differently.
For example, the state of California is a community property state, whereas
the state of New York is an equitable distribution state. When a high
net worth divorce couple is considering divorce, choosing one state over
another to file for divorce may very well be an important business decision.
In the state of California, the state's residency requirements for
filing for divorce are covered under the California Family Code, Sections
2320-2322. Under §2320 of the Family Code, a judgment for divorce
may not be entered unless one of the spouses have been a resident of California
for at least six months and of the county for which the divorce proceeding
is filed, and one of the parties must have lived in the county for which
they are filing for at least three months.
Even though a marriage often dissolves immediately following a major upset
or a big fight, it's important for people to remain calm and think
things through before they do anything that can work against them later
on. If you recently moved to California, or if you are planning to move
out of state for a job or another reason, it's important to carefully
review each relevant state's laws as they pertain to divorce before
you make any decisions about when and where to file.
At Claery & Green, we are intimately familiar with California State
laws as they pertain to residency requirements and all other relevant
factors that you should consider. If you are contemplating divorce, then
we urge you to
contact us as soon as possible so we can advise you of your legal rights and help
you prepare an action plan that can be to your greatest advantage in divorce.