California Residency Requirements

Residency Requirements for a California Divorce

I was married in a different state, can I get a divorce in California?

If you have been a resident in California for six months, and resided for three months in the county in which you file the divorce, you can file for divorce. If your spouse is not a resident of California, you may still file for divorce as long as you meet these requirements. If you and your spouse have lived in separate counties in the state for three months, you may file in either county. It is often a strategic decision as to which county to file in where spouses live in different counties prior to the filing of a divorce petition. A petition for a legal separation  can be drafted and then filed while waiting to meet the California state residency requirements. Once met, you can file an amended petition for dissolution of marriage and proceed toward divorce. Filing a petition for legal separation can allow you to pursue  issues such as child custody and visitation, child support, spousal support, property issues, and responsibilities for debts while you wait for the residency requirements to be met to file.

In the case of domestic partnerships that have been registered in California, you do not have to meet any residency requirements. You may file if you have never lived in California because by registering in this state, you agree to the jurisdiction of California. If you did not register the domestic partnership, you will need to meet the standard residency requirements. In either case, you will need the assistance of a local Westlake Village family law attorney who knows how to best represent you when dissolving a domestic partnership, whether you are resident here or not. Issues concerning out-of-state property, any children and all issues related to support always require special attention and a high level of understanding of California law and divorce.

To speak with an experienced California divorce lawyer, give us a call at (805) 777-1011 or contact us online today.

Same-Sex Marriage Divorce Residency Requirement

Same-sex marriages filed in California must meet the California residency requirement.  If you were married in California and now live in a state that will not dissolve a same sex marriage, you may be able to file for divorce in the county in which you were married. Our firm, Richard Ross Associates, can provide you with the services of a certified family law attorney Contact us so that we can help you with all of the issues related to divorce, including property division, child support, and spousal support, as well as child custody. Our experience and knowledge of California law can make the process far less stressful and allow for a timelier resolution in all divorce-related issues.

How Our California Divorce Lawyer Can Help

Hiring an experienced California divorce lawyer provides numerous benefits that can significantly impact the outcome and experience of the divorce process:

  • Expertise in California Family Law: Our attorney is well-versed in the nuances of California's family laws, ensuring accurate interpretation and application throughout the proceedings.
  • Strategic Advice and Guidance: We offer strategic advice based on years of handling diverse divorce cases, helping clients make informed decisions regarding child custody, property division, and spousal support.
  • Negotiation Skills: Experienced lawyers are adept negotiators, capable of securing favorable settlements through skilled mediation or negotiation with the opposing party.
  • Courtroom Experience: When litigation is necessary, we will provide strong representation in court, advocating effectively for their client's interests before judges.
  • Emotional Support: Divorce is emotionally taxing, and our compassionate team provides objective support, easing the stress of navigating legal complexities.
  • Resource Network: Our established lawyers have a network of professionals (like forensic accountants or child psychologists) whose expertise can bolster their client's case.
  • Risk Management: We anticipate potential pitfalls and devise strategies to mitigate risks, ensuring the protection of their client's rights and interests.
  • Efficiency and Time Management: Managing paperwork, deadlines, and court procedures efficiently so as to minimize delays in the divorce process for their clients.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Despite upfront costs, our expertise can lead to quicker resolutions and fewer legal battles, ultimately saving money in the long run.

Overall, consulting with our experienced California divorce lawyer offers comprehensive support, legal expertise, and advocacy tailored to achieve the best possible outcome in a challenging time.

To speak with an experienced California divorce lawyer, give us a call at (805) 777-1011 or contact us online today.


  • I heartily recommend him to anybody in need of a well qualified, results-oriented, family law specialist.

    “I would not hesitate to, again, retain the legal services of Richard Ross.”

  • Our family and our dignity have been restored.

    “Mr. Ross and his supportive, competent staff put their hearts into their work and literally turned our lives around.”

  • The results far exceeded my expectations.

    “The entire staff at Richard Ross Associates really helped me through my divorce and they were with me the whole way.”

  • Extremely thorough and professional!

    “Richard has helped me through a very difficult divorce and I can't say enough good things about him.”

  • Polite, caring, and quick to respond.

    “Richard Ross is a subject matter expert in the field of family law.”


  • This is very important: If you have separated from your spouse before one of you has filed for dissolution of marriage or legal separation, avoid agreeing to and placing into effect a temporary parenting plan arrangement regarding the children unless you will be able to live with this arrangement after the divorce papers have been filed. Once you begin a parenting plan that seems to be working, it becomes the "status quo." It is very difficult to convince a mediator or judge to change the status quo, especially if it is working or appears to be working and is not detrimental to the minor children.
  • If you have not received a judgment dissolving your marriage before the end of the year, you may file an individual tax return under the status of "married, filing separately" or a joint tax return with your spouse. You should consult your accountant as to the advantages of these options. You may obtain special information booklets regarding tax information for divorce or separated individuals from your local IRS office or read the IRS booklet online.
  • To file an action for divorce, also known as dissolution of marriage, a person must have resided in the state of California for six months and in the county where the action is filed for three months prior to filing the petition in court. This is true of either the petitioner or the respondent - either person can meet the test and allow a filing. If your spouse meets the residency requirement, you can file even if you do not meet it yourself.
  • The court can and usually will order you to move out of your residence if your spouse convinces the court that you have been violent toward your spouse or threatened your spouse. You could be given ex-parte notice to be in court the next day because your spouse is seeking an order to make you move out and stay out. You can be ordered to leave immediately and not return even if your spouse is not on the property title or lease agreement! Once you are ordered to leave, it is not likely that you will be allowed to return.
  • Before you get a divorce, photocopy all relevant financial documents that you can obtain and store them off-site with a trusted friend or relative. Do not store them in the trunk of your car where they can easily be found and removed by your spouse. There may be both personal and strategic reasons not to tip off your spouse that documents are being reviewed for a possible dissolution proceeding. Make copies of documents that you find in the residence and return the original documents to their original location as soon as possible so that your spouse won't notice that they are missing. It is often advisable to make the photocopies when you are sure your spouse is away for an extended time, such as during a workday. It is advisable to gather as many relevant financial documents as possible while they are still available and before they have been removed or destroyed by your spouse. This will significantly reduce the cost of divorce litigation if the documents do not have to be recovered later. It will also permit us to get a true picture of all community assets and debts as soon as possible.