Family Code § 2320 (a) requires that at least one party to the marriage must
be a resident of this state for six (6) months and of the county in which
the proceeding is filed for three (3) months before filing the petition.
Spouses who do not satisfy the
residence requirements but who want to pursue divorce without delay have the option of filing
for legal separation (as to which there is no minimum residence prerequisite)
and then amending the petition to request a dissolution once the residence
requirements are satisfied. In essence, spouses do not have to wait for
the residency requirements to start their divorce case.
While the court cannot enter a judgment dissolving the marriage until the
six-months/three-months residency requirements are met, it can immediately
act on the petition for legal separation to make temporary orders regarding
child support and
Lastly, serving the
legal separation petition will also start the clock on the six-month 'waiting period'
which is the soonest that the parties could get divorced once a case has