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Is it mandatory to meet the residency requirements to file for divorce in California?


To file for divorce, either husband or wife must meet the following residency requirements stated in California Family Code Section 2320(a):

1. You or your spouse must have been living in California for the last six (6) months and
2. You or your spouse must have been living in the county where you are planning to file for divorce for the last three (3) months.

If you do not meet the aforementioned residency requirements the court may dismiss your case. Remember, it is not mandatory that both spouses meet the residency requirements.

If you married in any other state but California, you still can file for divorce in California if you meet the residency requirements. Also, remember, California is a no-fault state, you do not need to show and/or prove that it is your spouse’s fault.


Yes, there is an exception for persons of the same sex. Please see California Family Code Section 2320 (b), a judgment for dissolution, nullity, or legal separation of a marriage between persons of the same sex may be entered, even if neither spouse is a resident of, or maintains a domicile in, this state at the time the proceedings are filed, if the following apply:

  1. The marriage was entered in California.
  2. Neither party to the marriage resides in a jurisdiction that will dissolve the marriage. If the jurisdiction does not recognize the marriage, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the jurisdiction will not dissolve the marriage.

For the purposes of Section 2320 (b), the superior court in the county where the marriage was entered shall be the proper court for the proceeding. The dissolution, nullity, or legal separation shall be adjudicated in accordance with California law.

Otherwise, you must meet the residency requirements to file for divorce in California.

If you still urgently need to file for divorce before meeting the residency requirements, then you have another option. You can file for a legal separation and, when you meet the residency requirements, you will be able to amend your petition and ask for divorce.

Pursuant to California Family Code Section 2321, in a proceeding for legal separation of the parties in which neither party, at the time the proceeding was commenced, has complied with the residency requirements of Section 2320, either party may, upon complying with the residency requirements, amend the party’s petition or responsive pleading in the proceeding to request that a judgment of dissolution of the marriage be entered. The date of the filing of the amended petition or pleading shall be deemed to be the date of commencement of the proceeding for the dissolution of the marriage for the purposes only of the residence requirements of Section 2320.

Please contact me at 619-737-3919 to schedule a 30-minute initial complimentary consultation to discuss your personal situation.

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Ms. Rogova, who is bilingual English-Russian, earned her law degrees from American and Russian universities. She earned her Russian law degree in 2003 and practiced law in Russia for over 7 years. Ms. Rogova has a broad range of legal experience in Russia such as contract litigation, corporate law, arbitration, real estate, and labor law. In addition to her law degree, in 2007 Ms. Rogova earned a Master of Finance degree.

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