Can you file for divorce in California when you and your spouse live in Nevada? The answer is probably not! Almost every state, except Alaska, South Dakota, and Washington have strict residency requirements to file divorce in that state. In other words, if you live in California but want to file for divorce in another state, your spouse must have been a resident of that other state for a certain amount of time.
If you want to file divorce in another state, there are two important legal concepts that you need to understand:
Personal jurisdiction means the court’s power over a person or individual. In comparison, subject matter jurisdiction is the court’s power over the subject. An example of personal jurisdiction would be when a California court orders one spouse who lives in California to pay spousal support to a spouse who lives out-of-state in Florida.
Subject matter jurisdiction
Subject matter jurisdiction means the court has the authority over the topic, subject or legal issue that is put before it. Examples of subject-matter jurisdiction include, for instance, dissolving a marriage, making order on custody, visitation and child support and dividing the assets and debt.
For example, California community property laws require marital assets to be divided equally among divorcing spouses. More than forty states are known as equitable distribution states. In such states, assets are divided to make sure a fair division of family property. State laws also differ on issues of child custody and support, spousal support, and dividing retirement assets.
California’s Exception for Same-Sex Couples
If you are a same-sex spouse, you will have to research whether your state laws will allow you to file for divorce in the state you live in. Though same-sex marriage discrimination has been outlawed, some states still have laws that do not recognize the marital status of same-sex couples. In California, if same-sex parties were married in California but live in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriages, this is the one exception that does not require the couple to meet residency requirements. California allows a same-sex couple to file to dissolve their marriage or domestic partnership in the county they were married if they live in a jurisdiction that does not recognize and will not dissolve their marriage.
Enforcing Your Divorce Order From Another State
So long as your divorce was done legally, it will be honored in most states. States reciprocate laws on most matters. This means that not only will your divorce be recognized, but child support or spousal support orders can also be enforced in another state. In California, there is a special process to register an out-of-state child support order or an out-of-state custody order in a California court. California law allows for enforcement of child custody as well as child support orders that have been made by other states. There are procedures, however, set out in the California Family Code that must be followed. Once the correct paperwork has been filed, a California judge can then enforce an out-of-state custody order as well as an out-of-state child support order.
Contact A People’s Choice for more information about filing for divorce, or registering an out-of-state child support or custody order. We can help you navigate through California courts without having to hire an expensive attorney. Call us today at 800-747-2780.
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