In California, divorce is regulated by the Uniform Divorce Recognition Act. It starts by saying that for a divorce to be recognized, both parties have to live in California at the time of the divorce or it cannot be recognized. In other words, if you want to get a divorce in this state you both have to live here or it won't be granted.
You have to provide proof that one of you was domiciled in California for six months before the separation is granted. It also states that if federal law changes this action, the laws of California will comply.
The other part of the law that is mentioned are the laws that cover asset and debt distribution. You can't legally hide your assets from the court because if your spouse can prove that you did that, you will be in trouble. It also says that debt will be distributed in the same manner. By reviewing the documentation provided by both partners and looking carefully at each person's earning ability.
Some assets are not considered community property, such as, for example, an inheritance that you received or any assets or property that you had when you entered into the marriage. It needs to be said that if you have a family home and you use non-community property assets to improve it, the improvement is considered community property.
The courts want you to get an amicable divorce. The law states that full disclosure of your assets and liabilities will help foster open communication during this difficult and emotional time. The judge will want to see your assets and debts at an early stage of the separation and will require you to continually update the court if things change.
Knowing what the law says can empower you to go the extra mile to protect your assets when you are attempting to get a divorce. You can work to get what is rightly yours legally and with full disclosure.
Source: California Family Code, "Grounds for dissolution or legal separation," accessed Sep. 19, 2015