Finding a Friendly Court

Forum shopping is not illegal, but it can make litigation more difficult for the opposing party.

Forum shopping happens when one party fights for a change of venue for a lawsuit. The goal is to move the action to a jurisdiction where the law is more favorable to his or her position. For example, a person may find it more advantageous to his or her position to file for divorce outside of California, which is a community property state. He or she may elect to opt for an equitable distribution state, where the wealthier spouse may retain more of the marital estate. The reverse is also true: California’s relatively generous divorce laws may make the Golden State appealing to the spouse of a wealthy man.

Of course a divorcing couple cannot just pick and choose the jurisdiction.

The court must have jurisdiction over them, and this means that they must meet residency requirements. However, sometimes the rewards of forum shopping make the quest worth the effort, and some divorcing Hollywood celebrities have used this method to their advantage.

On a smaller scale, sometimes people file for divorce in the next county when they want to escape the attention of the hometown newspaper.

Comments are closed.