Understanding the Grounds for Divorce in California
When filing for divorce, you need to establish the legal grounds on which you’re basing the petition. Your reasons to end the marriage might be valid, but in some states—such as California—the details don’t matter for further proceedings.
In this article, DoNotPay explains all about the grounds for divorce in California—what they are, why they matter, and how they affect the marriage dissolution process.
Besides providing insight into legal reasons for divorce in the Golden State, we can help you finalize the process by drafting a marital settlement agreement! All you need to do is sign up for DoNotPay, and we’ll draw up this legal document in a breeze!
A person may want to get a divorce for many reasons, but the court does not accept them all.
Depending on state-specific laws, a divorce can be:
- Fault-based—The petitioner blames their spouse’s behavior for the breakdown of the marriage
- No-fault-based—None of the spouses has to take the blame for the divorce. It’s enough to state that the marriage is irretrievably broken
Every state in the U.S. recognizes some form of no-fault-based divorce. The fault-based grounds are accepted only in the District of Columbia and 13 states, including:
- New Jersey
- New York
- South Carolina
- North Carolina
In the following table, you can find the most common legal grounds for divorce:
|No-Fault Grounds for Divorce||Fault-Based Grounds for Divorce|
California is the first state to recognize no-fault grounds for divorce. The state fully adopted this divorce reform with the Family Law Act of 1969. Both the law and no-fault divorce became effective in 1970.
California is an absolute no-fault divorce state, meaning that the court doesn’t consider fault when making decisions regarding custody, alimony, child support, division of the property, or anything else. There are exceptions to this rule, such as the custody cases when one of the spouses is abusive or incapable of taking care of the children.
There are two primary reasons for divorce in California:
- Irreconcilable differences
- Permanent legal incapacity
Irreconcilable differences are the more common reason for divorce in California. The specifics often don’t matter in the court—it’s enough to prove that the differences were too difficult to overcome, which lead to an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. People usually cite irreconcilable differences when they can’t agree on:
- Religion and culture
- Relationship with extended family
Permanent legal incapacity means that a person is incapable of making decisions for themself, as a result of illness, traumatic injury, or mental disorder. A doctor must determine if a person is permanently incapacitated.
It’s more complicated to obtain a divorce based on these grounds. Depending on the type of incapacity and the severity of the case, you need either psychiatric testimony or medical documentation that proves your spouse:
- Was suffering from incurable insanity when you filed for divorce
- Will remain incapacitated
Since California is a no-fault state, you can get a friendly divorce based on either of two legal grounds. The process is quicker and less complicated in case of irreconcilable differences, though.
Besides specifying reasons for the dissolution of marriage, you have to qualify for an uncontested divorce. Make sure you meet the following requirements before filing for divorce in California without a lawyer:
- Either you or your spouse has been a California resident for at least six months before petitioning
- Both of you are willing to sign the paperwork
- You and your spouse agree on the following matters:
If you’re filing for an uncontested divorce in California, you’re going to need a marital settlement agreement. This legal document serves an important purpose—it lists all divorce terms you’ve agreed on with your soon-to-be ex-spouse and makes them legally binding.
After drafting the agreement, you can continue with the process of filing for divorce. When you prepare all the paperwork, you should make copies of each document and file them at your local clerk of the court’s office in your county. If you and your spouse are co-petitioners, you don’t need to serve the papers.
Once the mandatory waiting period (six months) is over, you should attend the hearing in court. The judge will review your settlement agreement and other uncontested divorce papers before issuing the final judgment.
Avoid paying sky-high attorney’s fees and spending time and energy on writing a divorce settlement agreement by yourself. Access DoNotPay to get the document professionally written in three breezy steps:
- Open the Divorce Settlement Agreement feature
- Answer our chatbot’s questions
- Specify if you need our help notarizing the agreement
You’ll receive a custom-made divorce settlement agreement that meets both your needs and state requirements!
DoNotPay has all the information about the divorce process in California counties, including:
- Alameda County
- Sonoma County
- Contra Costa County
- Fresno County
- Ventura County
- Santa Clara County
- Riverside County
- San Bernardino County
- Kern County
- San Mateo County
- San Joaquin County
- Stanislaus County
You can also find some of the frequently asked divorce-related questions in the table below:
|General||Divorce in California|
Looking for an app that’s got enough features to solve any issue you’re facing? Look no further—DoNotPay has got your back! Whether you can’t sleep from your noisy neighbors or you want to connect with your locked-up relatives, we’ll be able to help. We’ll bring justice to any person or company that has wronged you and take them to small claims court for you.
The robot-lawyer app can generate numerous legal documents in your name, including:
Once you receive the documents, we can set you up with an online notary so you can get your agreements notarized from the comfort of your home.
DoNotPay stands out not only by the quality of products it offers but by the sheer amount of features it boasts. Check the table below out to see only some issues we can help you resolve:
|Get Extra Money||Protect Your Privacy||Deal With Legal Issues|