When your marriage was going well, you and your spouse lived together in Manhattan Beach. Then your relationship started falling apart, and one of you moved into a new house — in another state. Now that you are ready for divorce, the fact that you and your soon-to-be-ex live in different states can complicate things.
The race to the courthouse
In many multistate divorces, the spouses race to file their divorce at their local courthouse. This is most often because different states have different rules about property division. California is a community property state. In community property states, most assets acquired during the marriage care deemed community property, which belongs to both spouses equally. However, most states practice equitable property division. In those states, marital assets must be split up “equitably,” meaning fairly — not necessarily evenly.
Depending on your financial position, one system or the other might benefit you the most. And if you meet the residency requirements of both states (that is, you have lived long enough in your current state to meet the requirements of that state and California), you can file in either state you prefer. But if your ex files for divorce before you do, you could lose out on your chance.
Qualifying to get divorced in California
But not so fast. Every state has minimum residency requirements before someone can file for divorce there. Here in California, a person must have lived in the state for at least six months before filing. They must also have lived in the county where they are filing for at least three months. Other states have longer (and shorter) residency requirements, which will likely factor in you and your divorce attorney’s strategy.