What are the Residency and Filing Requirements for Divorce in California?

In order to file for divorce in California, one spouse must have been domiciled (physically present and regard where they are living as home) in the state for a continuous six months and in the county where the divorce petition is being filed for a continuous three months prior to the filing of the petition, according to California Family Code section 2320.

A California divorce may be uncontested, contested, and with or without children. A summary dissolution is a type of uncontested divorce only for spouses who have no children, were either married or in a domestic partnership for less than five years, have few debts (less than $6,000) or possessions (less than $38,000), do not own a house or other real estate, and agree on how to divide all their belongings.

A traditional uncontested divorce is where the spouses or domestic partners do not qualify for a summary dissolution, but agree on how they want to distribute their marital property and handle parenting issues.

A contested divorce is where the spouses are not in agreement on at least one issue raised in the divorce.

The California divorce residency requirements are the same regardless of the type of divorce being sought. However, there are different forms and documents which must be filed for the different types of divorce.

Generally speaking, summary divorces require the least amount of paperwork, while uncontested divorces require more, and contested divorces call for the most documentation.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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