Before adjudicating issues in family law matters, the court must have jurisdiction over the subject matter, that is it must have authority to decide the particular type of matter raised in the pleading. It must also have jurisdiction over the “res,” which is the marriage or domestic partnership. Finally, the court must also have jurisdiction over the parties. Types of cases a family court has authority to hear include: marital status actions (i.e., dissolution, legal separation, and nullity), domestic partnership status actions (i.e., dissolution, legal separation, and nullity), family conciliation court proceedings, child custody/visitation proceedings, child/spousal support proceedings, parentage proceedings, adoption proceedings, proceedings for protective orders under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act, & proceedings under the Emancipation of Minors Law. The court may exercise personal jurisdiction over a party where he is physically present in the state, domiciled in the forum state when the action commences, consents to the exercise of personal jurisdiction, or has “minimum contacts” with the state.
This post is for informational purposes (see disclaimers). Credit is due to Rutter’s California Practice Guide- Family Law.