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Your state and divorce: how state laws affect outcomes

The law is not always as simple and straightforward as one might hope. Federal laws apply to the whole nation; however, each state also has its own laws, and every legal action is decided by the court with jurisdiction. In California, as in the rest of the country, it is the state laws that govern divorce and family law.

When considering divorce, one needs to consider a number of factors. There may be residency requirements or a waiting period, and the rules relating to the official date of separation may also differ from one state to another. With this in mind, if a couple owns homes in more than one state, a change in primary residence may be something to further explore when determining the most beneficial path to divorce.

California is a community property state. When it comes to property division, this means that property acquired during the marriage will normally be considered to be jointly owned. There may be some exceptions to this, but one would need to provide evidence to back up such a claim. Interstate or internationally held assets may be subject to further complications.

If there are children involved, child support and custody arrangements will also need to be considered. If one spouse earns significantly less than the other, he or she may also be able to make a claim for spousal support.  Whatever one's circumstances, when considering divorce, it is best to move forward by gathering together all the relevant paperwork before seeking the most appropriate advice and guidance.

Source: Forbes, "50 Ways To End Your Marriage: Divorce Laws Vary Widely From State To State", Jeff Landers, May 24, 2016

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