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Jurisdiction: What and Where is it?

M is for Move Away Orders

Jurisdiction: What and Where is it?

In the tenth post in our Divorce from A to Z, we are up to J for Jurisdiction.  Jurisdiction sounds like one of those things you hear on Law & Order, but may not know exactly what it means, so we are going to talk about what it is and what that means for where you can file your California divorce case.

First, jurisdiction is the authority that allows the court to hear and finalize your divorce case.  Without it, the court has no authority over you and your spouse and is unable to issue enforceable court orders.  You don’t want to have to file for divorce twice because the court didn’t have jurisdiction in the first place.

Next, how does the court determine if it has jurisdiction? In California, one spouse has to have been a resident of California for at least 6 months and live in the county where the divorce is filed for at least 3 months before the case is filed.  Many people are under the misconception that you have to file for divorce in the state that you were married in, but that’s not correct.

Jurisdiction can get quite complicated when one spouse lives in another state or you own real property in another state.  In order for the court in California to have authority over the spouse living in another state, he or she must have some connection to California and not just that the other spouse lives here.

If you have questions about jurisdiction for your particular situation, our legal advice phone call can help you move forward with your case.  Another option would be our legal advice via email service.

LEGAL ADVERTISEMENT. This is just a basic overview and is not legal advice specific to your situation. You should consult qualified legal counsel with questions regarding your situation.