Which states laws govern your marriage – the state laws where you live or laws of the state in which you were married?

UPDATED: Sep 26, 2010

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Which states laws govern your marriage – the state laws where you live or laws of the state in which you were married?

Does it matter what state you are living in or rather, where your marriage license is from, when it comes to the rights the state has over you or your children? Say we live in CA and get married in NJ, do NJ laws have any legal bearing over us in CA? What, if any, laws or rights does the state have over the couple married in that state or the children from that marriage?

Asked on September 26, 2010 under Family Law, California


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

The laws of the state that you are domiciled in control.  That is, what state are you a resident of? The state in which you were married has nothing to do with it.  In CA, as long have either one of you have been a resident for at least 6 months, a CA superior court will have jurisdiction over divorce and child custody matters.  Additionally, 1 of the parties must also have been a resident of the county in which the proceeding is filed for 3 months prior to the filing.

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