Moving out of state during a divorce may be completely legal in many cases, but it may cause you some problems.  It is understandable that many people going through a divorce may want to move-on to a new state, return home to their parents, or return to familiar territory if they moved to CA for their spouse.  However, it may be difficult to handle your CA divorce case while living out of state, and you may be unable to file for divorce in your new home state.  The Ventura divorce lawyers at The Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth explain some common issues with moving during a divorce.

Can You Move During a California Divorce?

If you have already filed for divorce – or your spouse has filed for divorce against you – it is understandable that you might move out of the house or to get a fresh start.  Courts commonly deal with issues surrounding peoples’ addresses and places of residence changing during a divorce.  A divorce case is not like a criminal case, which may stop you from leaving the state while charges are pending.  Instead, you still have the right to go wherever you want – you just need to be available to appear in court when required.

In addition, you must meet the court’s residency requirements to handle your divorce case in that court.  In California, at least one party must be a resident of the state and county where the divorce is filed.  That means that if your spouse is not moving, you can file for divorce in the same county you used to live in with them.  To meet the residency requirement, one party must have lived in the State of California for at least 6 months leading up to the divorce and at least 3 months in the county you file in.  If you move out of state before the divorce is filed or while the case is pending, you can still handle the case in a California court if your spouse continues to meet the residency requirements.

If you do move, you may still have to return to California to handle your case.  Once the divorce is filed in a California court, you have to finish the case in that court.  That may mean returning to CA to appear in court, sign documents, testify, or meet for negotiations.

You may be barred from moving out of state during a divorce if you are divorcing with children.  When you live separately from the other parent of shared children, California needs to issue a child support order to dictate who gets custody and access to the kids.  If you share custody with your spouse, you may not be allowed to move too far away from the spouse.  Child support laws make it difficult or impossible to share custody over long distances, and one parent may not be legally allowed to take the children too far away from their other parent.  Our Santa Barbara divorce attorneys also handle child support cases to help with these kinds of issues during your divorce.

Can You File for Divorce After Moving Out of State?

If you haven’t filed for divorce yet before you move, you may have difficulty filing out of state.  Most other states have similar rules that require at least one spouse lived in the county and state for the preceding 3-6 months.  If you don’t meet that state’s requirements, you cannot file your case in that state.

Moreover, other states have different divorce laws.  CA law allows no-fault divorce, meaning you can get divorced without needing to prove that your spouse did anything wrong.  You may need to prove a good cause for divorce in another state, or at least follow different waiting periods to get your divorce.

If your spouse stayed in California, either of you can still file for divorce in California.  Only one spouse needs to meet the residency requirements to file for divorce, meaning that a spouse who stays in-state can still file for divorce in CA, even if you moved out of state.  CA law treats spouses equally, regardless of which spouse filed for divorce, so which spouse files ultimately does not affect the case.  Still, this means you likely need to return to CA to appear in court and address issues.

Regardless of where you file your divorce case, it is important to hire an attorney who is licensed to practice in that state.  Our attorneys are barred in the State of California and are licensed to handle CA cases for our clients.  We can work at long distances, talking to you over the phone to help you handle your CA case while you are out-of-state.

Oxnard Divorce Lawyers Offering Free Consultations

If you are considering moving out of state during your divorce, talk to an attorney about the risks and complications this may cause.  If you have joint custody of children, you may not be permitted to relocate out of state.  For a free consultation, contact The Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth today to speak with our Ventura family lawyers about your case.  Our number is (805) 643-5555.