Very often after separating but before divorcing a couple will move to two different states. An issue that can then arise is that both members of the marriage may file for divorce in their separate states simultaneously (or near simultaneously). Not only will each state likely have different laws and procedures for effectuating the divorce, but, neither spouse will want to deal with the inconvenience of having their divorce conducted potentially hundreds of miles from their home!
Having two simultaneous divorces thus lends itself to innumerable problems. It is for this reason that generally only one state may move forward with a divorce. Generally, the party that files and personally serves the other first is the party that establishes jurisdiction over the divorce. So if wife files for divorce first but husband serves wife with divorce paperwork first, then husband’s state is most likely to retain jurisdiction. However, case law has delineated a difference between having jurisdiction over the divorce, and the property of the divorce. Thus, you can have strange situations where the parties are divorced in one state but property is divided in another.
Because interstate conflicts tend to be a more complicated aspect of dissolution law in California it is always best to consult with an attorney. The San Francisco based family law attorneys of Jones & Devoy LLP have experience in interstate litigation in divorce and family law matters and can advise on an appropriate action for your case.