Jurisdiction To File Dissolution In California


The courts of this state cannot hear a marital case unless it finds that it has jurisdiction to do so. In that case of Muckle v. Superior Court, 2002 DJDAR 10827 the court was faced with a case where husband had previously resided in California with wife but had moved to Georgia where he had purchased a home. Wife filed for dissolution and other relief in California. Husband sought the quash service or dismiss on grounds of inconvenient forum. The trial court denied the request. Husband appealed.


The Court of Appeal reversed. Jurisdiction can be acquired where the person sued is domiciled in the state, is personally served the court papers in the state, the person served consents to jurisdiction or there is a showing of minimum contacts with the state. The Court of Appeal noted that wife had to show minimum contacts as none of the other methods to acquire jurisdiction apply. The Court noted that the time to evaluate contacts with this state is at the time the case and not the past conduct of the party. Distinguishing other cases that upheld a finding of jurisdiction the Court found Wife failed to show sufficient facts that Husband had sufficient minimum contact with the state at the time she file to warrant the exercise of personal jurisdiction over him.


The analysis of jurisdiction claims is complex. In any family law matter involving parties in different states an attorney should be consulted to determine where any action may be brought.

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