Over the last few weeks we have had three personal jurisdiction cases. In each case, our clients wanted to file a motion to quash the proceeding in California in order to litigate their divorce in another state, where the alimony laws are not so draconian. We recognize that such cases are complex and even just the location of where a case is litigated could have a massive impact. We therefore fight to have our clients given the best possible chance of success—ensuring that their case is heard in the best location for their situation.
In the first case, our client was in the military and stationed in California for thirty months; a year ago, he left for Virginia where he established residency. Before leaving, he set his wife up in an apartment which he signed the lease for – he also registered his car here. As his wife committed adultery and wanted alimony, it was important to have this litigated in Virginia, where adultery is relevant for alimony, rather than California, where adultery is irrelevant. The court held that his signing of the lease in the state did not constitute enough of a nexus to California to exercise personal jurisdiction over him, and granted our motion.
In the second case, our client also signed a lease to help his wife and registered a car in California but never lived here. This was a 23-year marriage and California would have awarded a lot of alimony since he made much more than his wife. Our client wanted this removed to Alaska, where there is virtually no alimony. The court held that his signing of the lease in California and registering the car did not constitute enough of a nexus to California to exercise personal jurisdiction over him, and once again granted our motion
The third case was a marriage of seven years. Our client lived in Texas, where he was attempting to secure a divorce and where alimony is not awarded at all until there is a ten year marriage. His wife wanted to litigate in California where our client had signed a lease on a home he used to visit his child who lived there with the mother. This again resulted in the court granting our motion to quash the proceedings.
In all three cases we were successful in protecting our client from the California Court having personal jurisdiction and thereby securing alimony on much more generous terms than Alaska, Texas or Virginia would award. If you have questions or if you would like to discuss your case with a member of our firm, we encourage you to consult with a member of our firm as soon as possible.