Many people have a divorce judgment from another state or country and are now living in California. In California, recognition and enforcement of a foreign country divorce judgment ordinarily turns strictly on principles of “comity” – i.e, voluntary cooperation.
The California comity standards for recognition and enforcement of a marriage dissolution granted by a foreign country are two-fold:
1. The judgment must have been valid in the country where it was rendered; AND
2. At least one of the parties must have been domiciled in the forum country at the time of the proceeding.
Historically, the public policy bar to enforcement of another country’s dissolution judgment has come up in connection with so-called Mexican “quickie” divorces predicated on a sham Mexican residence.
To enforce another state or country’s judgment or order in California, file a civil complaint to establish (“domesticate”) the judgment as a California judgment.
If you have an order for spousal or child support from another state or country, or are owed support in another country, domesticating the judgment as a California judgment will allow you to either seek payment through California courts or even attack an out-of-state support order in California.
Speak to an attorney about how to best handle your out-of-state divorce judgment in California.