Do I Need Grounds for Divorce in California?

California, like all states, has a set of rules that determines who can marry who. But does it have laws that control who can divorce who?

For years, people needed to have solid legal ground before filing for divorce. Since this started to feel a bit like unlawful imprisonment to some, the courts eventually removed this necessity one by one; New York was actually the last state in the country to become a no-fault state in 2010. What it means to file a “no-fault” divorce is basically as it sounds – no one person is particularly to blame for the marriage coming to an end. Instead, things fell apart and one or both parties decided they didn’t want to continue the marriage. When people use “no-fault” for their divorce, the technical term, which you have probably seen before, is “irreconcilable differences.”

What If I Have Other Reasons to Want a Divorce?

Of course, not every divorce is going to end “just because”. Many times there will be very solid and understandable reasons for wanting to end the marriage. For example, infidelity or domestic violence on part of one spouse is a surefire path to divorce. But do these reasons make a difference in your filing?

They could but it is not guaranteed. If you have children, any wrongdoing on behalf of your spouse will probably remove some of their custody rights; the court will not want to pair a child with someone who could be abusive or untrustworthy. As far as property division is concerned, the effect could be minimal or nonexistent. California is one of the few states that uses community property rules, meaning that anything that is “both of your property” is divided as close to 50-50 as possible, not based on what is fair.

For more information regarding the rules of divorce in California, you can call 951.687.6003 to speak to Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich and our Riverside County family law attorneys. You can even request a completely free initial case evaluation to begin, so don’t hesitate to contact us today.


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