Should I File for Divorce Before or After My Move?


Since obtaining a Pasadena divorce represents a major life change, many people take this opportunity to move to a new area. If you are planning to move out of the state of California, you may be wondering if you should file for divorce in California or wait to establish residency in your new state before filing.

The length of time to establish residency in another state varies widely. Utah, for example, requires you to live in the state for just 90 days. West Virginia, in comparison, requires you to live in the state for one year before filing for divorce.

In most cases, it is easiest to file for divorce and move out of state once your marriage has legally ended. However, there are some circumstances where you might find it more advantageous to wait until you've established residency in your new state. Reasons to file for divorce after your move include:

  • Since California is a community property state, you might want to wait to file in your new state if you are the higher earning spouse and moving to a location without community property laws.
  • If you have children with your ex and want to be the custodial parent, it is generally preferable to have a custody order from your new state of residence.
  • If you dislike traveling, filing with a local court will prevent you from making a long trip if you ever need to modify the divorce decree.

When deciding where to file for divorce, you should also keep in mind that your spouse is free to file for divorce at any time. If he or she files in California and you've already moved, the matter will be out of your control.

How Can We Help?

If you are need in of assistance with a divorce-related issue, please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at Our skilled Pasadena divorce attorneys can provide help with a variety of common divorce concerns, including alimony, child support, and visitation.