In order to file a divorce in CA you will have to show the family court there that either you or your ex still lives in the county where the family court is located that you are filing the divorce. Obviously, you have not lived there for quite some time, so you will have to show the court that she lives within their jurisdiction and that they can rightfully order the divorce. In order to do this, if you cannot locate her then I suggest that you hire a private investigator in that area of CA and/or a local family law attorney in that area of county in CA who can hire a private investigator for you to get this matter going on your behalf. Here is an internet link to the CA state bar association attorney referral service and if you contact them you can get several names of attorneys in that area of CA who can assist you with this matter in a very timely manner. Here is the link: http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Public/LawyerReferralServicesLRS.aspx
I wish I had better news for you on this, but California and all of the states in the US are the same on this issue -- in order to use the courts of the state and county then the court must have personal jurisdiction over one of the parties to the divorce case in order to hear the divorce action and to sign the divorce decree. Finally, I do not know if you have consulted with a local attorney there in the Netherlands, but you should do that and determine if there is any method that can be used in your own courts to apply for a divorce under these circumstances because you are a resident there and the courts in the Netherlands have personal jurisdiction over you and can make orders on your behalf. There may be a local procedure that you can use for international service of process -- either by fedex or even by publishing legal notice of the Netherland divorce proceedings in a CA newspaper where you know that she used to live and if she does not respond, the Netherlands court may be able to grant you a divorce by default if she fails to respond or appear. So, I suggest that you check with a local attorney there in the Netherlands first and if you cannot get any relief there then you should contact the CA bar association and get involved with an attorney there in the county where you know she used to live and start proceedings there in CA (any attorney that you hire can represent you in the CA courts without you having to make a personal appearance).
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Dear, Mary, sorry for my late reply.
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But I still have a question about documents. What kind of documents do I need for divorce? Is there "must have" documents that I need to show to the court?
Can you tell me how to check: maybe my wife has divorced with me while I am living here?
Hello again -
You have to check with the family court in the county in California where you were living when you were in the US to see if perhaps she has divorced you -- you should be able to find the court with an online search by typing in city and state and family court. If you are going to file a divorce case in CA you can get the blank divorce forms from the family court in that same county in CA. It will be very difficult for you to file them in a long distance fashion like this and I do suggest you contact a lawyer there in CA to handle the matter.
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