Can I use Power of Attorney to let my friend file a divorce for me?

I live in Orange County, CA and both my ex and my best friend live in San Diego County. Since divorce is easier and faster in San Diego, I want to file there but it is prohibitively expensive for me to travel to file there. The legal code for POA is a little confusing, so I want to check if I can assign this power to my friend in San Diego.

Asked on October 7, 2018 under Family Law, California


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Generally speaking, no, a POA can not make life altering decisions for a person (divorce is considered that), although Tennessee allows it if it says so specifically.  But here is the real issue: you need to be a resident of the county in order to file there and you are not.  Without that the court does not have jurisdiction.  If this is an amicable divorce then have your ex file.  Otherwise, you need to file in Orange County.  Good luck.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

No, you cannot. The term "power of attorney" is an admittedly confusing one--it sounds like the person you designate can function as your lawyer or attorney, but he or she cannot. Only an actual lawyer can file a court case on your behalf: it is illegal for anyone else to bring a case in court for you. So either have to go and file it yourself, or hire a lawyer to bring it for you.

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