What Is a No-Fault Divorce in California, and How Can You File for One?

Divorce Settlement Agreement What Is a No-Fault Divorce in California, and How Can You File for One?

Get the Scoop on a No-Fault Divorce in California

Getting a divorce is usually a dramatic and emotionally draining experience. It doesn’t always have to be like that. In all states across the U.S., soon-to-be ex-spouses are allowed to terminate their marriage without any party taking the blame. If you want to know more about this type of divorce in the Golden State, DoNotPay can help!

In this article, we bring you all the information you need about a no-fault divorce in California!

No-Fault Divorce in a Nutshell

A no-fault divorce is a type of marriage dissolution where neither of the spouses has to take the blame for the breach of the marital contract. Unlike fault-based ones, a no-fault divorce doesn’t require the plaintiff—petitioner—to provide any kind of evidence of the defendant’s wrongdoings.


Even if the other party doesn’t want to get a divorce, there’s not much they can do to stop the process. In case the defendant refuses to participate in the case, the divorce will be finalized through a “default” judgment.

Is California a No-Fault Divorce State?

Yes, California is a no-fault divorce state—it was the first one to adopt that concept. All divorces are no-fault divorces in the Golden State. It doesn’t matter if one of the spouses had an affair or otherwise contributed to the dissolution of the marriage—the court won’t treat the case any differently.

In the majority of cases, the divorce laws in California don’t punish spouses for their wrongdoings with bigger alimonies or less property.

Legal Grounds for a CA No-Fault Divorce

In any divorce case, a plaintiff must have a legal reason for filing a petition. The grounds for a divorce in California are straightforward—the court will grant the petitioner the dissolution of marriage based on “irreconcilable differences” if they prove to be true.

Besides having a reason for the petition, spouses have to meet two residency requirements as well:

  1. At least one of the divorcing parties must have been a California resident for a minimum of six months before filing a petition
  2. The petitioner must have been living for a minimum of three months in the county where they’re petitioning for divorce

There are certain exceptions to these requirements—special rules apply if you or your spouse are currently in the military.

Uncontested No-Fault Divorce in California

In California, you get a no-fault divorce by default, but it is up to you and your spouse whether it’ll be contested or uncontested. There are many advantages to getting an uncontested divorce in California, such as:

  • Being less mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausting
  • Taking less time to get finalized
  • Being much cheaper than the contested divorces

An uncontested divorce allows you to get a dissolution of marriage without going to court. You can qualify for this divorce type if you and your spouse agree on important matters—alimony, custody, division of marital property. In case you see eye to eye on all of these issues, you can get a divorce even without a lawyer.

How To File for No-Fault Divorce in California

Want to know what the step-by-step divorce process looks like? Check the table below:

Uncontested No-Fault Divorce—Steps Explanation
Gathering and filling out the paperwork To make sure you’re collecting the right California divorce papers, you should visit the official website of the Judicial Branch of California. Find all the required documents and fill them out as instructed on the website
Make copies of the forms Keep in mind that you’ll file the original divorce papers with the court, so you’ll need two more copies—one for you and one for your spouse
Draw up a divorce settlement agreement To get an uncontested divorce, the court has to review and approve your settlement agreement. You can draft this document yourself or have an attorney write it for you, but there’s a more secure and cost-effective way! Sign up for DoNotPay to get a divorce settlement agreement in a breeze!
File the documents with the court Once you gather, fill out, and sign all the uncontested divorce papers and your settlement agreement, what’s left is to file them. You can do that at your local clerk’s office after paying the filing fee
Serve your spouse with the forms In California, you have 60 days to serve divorce papers to your wife or husband. Once you do that, your spouse has 30 days to respond to the petition

DoNotPay Can Help During Your CA No-Fault Divorce Process

With DoNotPay, creating a divorce settlement agreement is one less problem you have to worry about! Our exhaustive database enables us to draft a rock-solid settlement agreement that meets your state requirements and includes case-specific details.

You don’t have to go through any trouble to obtain it—all you need to do is open DoNotPay and do the following:

  1. Choose the Divorce Settlement Agreement feature
  2. Answer our chatbot’s questions about your marriage
  3. Provide details regarding your financial assets

We will send you a customized divorce settlement agreement right away! Don’t know where to get it notarized? Inform us while completing the questionnaire, and we’ll help you set up an appointment with an online notary.

Consult the following table to get answers to some of the most common questions about this topic:

General California Specific

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