Divorce Attorneys

Ask a Carlsbad Family Lawyer – Jurisdictional Issues

Can I File in California?

Figuring out where to file a family law action can be a complex issue. Depending on the type of case, the answer is very different. In fact, often even different states will have jurisdiction over different issues in the same divorce case.

Proper Jurisdiction in Divorce Cases

In order to file for Divorce in California either you or your spouse must have been a resident of the state for six months and a resident of the filing county for three months immediately prior to filing. Further, if your spouse lives outside of California there are special rules concerning California have what is called “personal jurisdiction” over them.

Proper Jurisdiction in Child Support Cases

In order for a court to make an initial order for child support, the court must have jurisdiction over the payer of support—generally the noncustodial parent. If the other parent lives in California then this is an easy issue. However, if the other parent lives outside of California there are special rules concerning California’s ability to make a child support order in the case.


It is possible that is some situations you may have to file for child support in the state where the other parent resides. Our San Diego North County Child Support Lawyers know the ins and outs of jurisdictional issues in child support cases. Call our office for a free case evaluation.

Proper Jurisdiction in Child Custody Cases

Generally the state of residence of the child has jurisdiction to make child custody orders in any particular case. In California family law we call the proper jurisdictional state the child’s “home state.” As with every other jurisdictional issue, at times the case will become complicated with each parent claiming that their state should be the one with jurisdiction.


We at Griffith, Young & Lass handle complex jurisdictional cases on a regular basis. We will walk you through the process and give you a realistic opinion with respect to your child custody jurisdiction issue.