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 commenced.