One of the more noticeable places to see the changes in the new Family Code is in the Petition for a Dissolution of Marriage (Form FL-100 as adopted by the Judicial Council of California). The form is now clearly used to request a dissolution of marriage for same sex couples as well as domestic partnerships.
It also clears up previous confusion about where to file these matters. Previously, many opposite sex couples were confused about where to file, thinking it should be filed in the county or state where the marriage took place. The proper venue for California residents always has been the California court if at least one of the parties has legal residency in this state.
The confusion was compounded by same sex couples who were married in a state that no longer recognized same sex marriage or moved to state that didn’t recognize same sex marriage or divorce. Now it is clearly understood by the use of this form, that same sex marriages that took place in California can be dissolved in this state along with marriages that took place in this state for parties who live in another state that doesn’t dissolve such marriages. Domestic partnerships established in this state can also be dissolved for parties who live out of state.
Another distinction in the updated form coincides with the language change in Family Code 2312. The words “incurable insanity” has been replaced with “permanent legal incapacity to make decisions”. Before January 1, 2015 the code read in part “A marriage may be dissolved on the grounds of incurable insanity only upon proof, including competent medical or psychiatric testimony, that the insane spouse was at the time the petition was filed, and remains, incurably insane”.
The updated version reads, “A marriage may be dissolved on the grounds of permanent legal incapacity to make decisions only upon proof, including competent medical or psychiatric testimony, that the spouse was at the time the petition was filed, and remains, permanently lacking the legal capacity to make decisions”.