Can I Divorce an Out-of-State Spouse?

lawyer showing man divorce papers

Getting a divorce is a complex process. However, this becomes much more confusing when your spouse does not live in California with you. Whether they moved when the marriage started to go south or they had to move to another state for work and the long-distance relationship is not beneficial for your marriage, there are many reasons that spouses living in separate states may want a divorce. As such, it’s imperative to understand whether or not this is possible and how a Los Angeles divorce attorney can help you leave your out-of-state spouse during these challenging times.

What Are the Residency Requirements to File for Divorce in California?

If you or your spouse want a divorce in California, you must reside in the state for six months and the county for at least three months. However, it is only necessary for one spouse to meet these residency requirements. As such, you may still be eligible to get a divorce, even if your spouse is out of state. The main reason states have residency requirements is so the courts can have legal jurisdiction over your case.

What Should I Do if I Have an Out-of-State Spouse But Want a Divorce?

Though residency requirements are necessary for a court to have jurisdiction over your case, this can become tricky when only one spouse lives in the state, as there are assets, alimony, child custody, and division of benefits that can make this process more confusing.

For example, California is a community property state, meaning you are entitled to an equal division of assets during your divorce. However, if your spouse is living in New York, this is an equitable distribution state. As such, this can create issues when determining how to divide marital assets, as these are two conflicting methods of distributing assets.

If your spouse refuses to return to California to handle the issue, your attorney may have to obtain a court order from the judge handling your case. This enforces the decision made in California in the state where your spouse currently resides.

However, it’s important to note that your attorney may encourage you to follow the laws of the state where your spouse lives if the distribution of assets and laws surrounding spousal support will better benefit you. As such, it’s imperative to contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss these unique circumstances.

When you are going through a divorce, the dedicated team at the Zitser Family Law Group is ready to help. Divorces are challenging enough when spouses live in the same state, so when they do not, it can be even more complex and stressful for those involved. We understand the anxiety these circumstances can cause. As such, we are committed to doing everything possible to help you through these challenging times. Reach out to our knowledgeable and compassionate team today to learn how we can assist you.

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