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What Is an Ex Parte Divorce?

If you want to file for a Pasadena divorce and your spouse lives outside the state of California, you will be asking the court for an ex parte divorce. An ex parte divorce occurs when the divorce is granted in a jurisdiction in which only one spouse is living. This is most often because the couple has been separated for quite some time and one spouse has moved away to establish residency in a different area.

An ex parte divorce is an exception to the normal rules of jurisdiction. The court is ruling that it has the authority to determine your marital status because you meet the state's residency requirements. Therefore, even though your spouse is not a resident, the court has jurisdiction over him or her for the purpose of obtaining a divorce.

The most important part of obtaining an ex parte divorce is making sure that your spouse receives notice of the action. It is best to have your spouse served divorce papers by a process server, who may be a local sheriff or some other government official authorized to serve legal papers. If you don't know where your spouse is currently living, you can provide notice through a method such as newspaper notification. However, you must discuss this issue with your attorney.

The federal government says that states are legally required to recognize a divorce obtained from another state. So as long as you follow the laws of your state, your ex parte divorce should not be a problem if you need to move again at a future date.

If you have children with your spouse, please be advised that child support, child custody, and child visitation will be determined by the laws of the state in which the children reside. This can be problematic if you are a non-custodial parent seeking an ex parte divorce.

How Can We Help?

If you have a question regarding your divorce, please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at Our experienced Pasadena family law lawyers can handle a variety of divorce-related concerns, including issues relating to special circumstances like an ex parte divorce.