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California is a No-Fault Divorce State: What This Means

admin_legalcounselingMarch 15, 2023

Divorce can be a complex experience for all involved. Although ending an unhappy marriage is almost always in the best interests for both parties (as well as their children) in the long run, it’s not uncommon to experience a certain degree of pain or confusion when getting a divorce.

That said, in California, the process of divorce is simplified somewhat by the fact that it is a no-fault divorce state. In a state like California, neither spouse has to prove that the other spouse was at fault for the marriage breakdown. This overview will help you better understand the topic, explaining what a no-fault divorce state is and how the no-fault system impacts divorce cases.

What is a no-fault divorce state?

A no-fault divorce state is one in which neither spouse must demonstrate that the other spouse was responsible for the breakdown of the marriage. Thus, a divorce may be granted solely because a marriage is irretrievably broken. To justify a divorce, neither spouse needs to provide evidence of adultery, abandonment, or other such factors.

At-fault divorce states are different. In an at-fault divorce state, a spouse must prove that the other spouse engaged in some behavior or activity that resulted in a divorce being necessary. Examples of fault-based grounds for divorce include adultery, cruelty, abandonment, and imprisonment.

How does no-fault divorce work in California?

A divorce can be granted on the grounds of irreconcilable differences in a no-fault state like California. This means that the marriage has broken down to the point where there is no chance of reconciliation.

Again, this reduces the burden on the spouse who may initiate the divorce. They don’t need to gather evidence showing the other spouse behaved in such a way that divorce has become the only possible outcome.

In addition to irreconcilable differences, California also has a six-month residency requirement for divorce. This means that at least one spouse must have lived in California for at least six months before filing for divorce in the state.

The Importance of Hiring a Divorce Attorney in a No-Fault Divorce State

Although the no-fault system can simplify the process of getting a divorce, that doesn’t mean it’s wise for someone to get a divorce in California without the assistance of a lawyer. There are many ways in which an attorney can potentially help you navigate this experience and process. The following are merely a few common examples:

  • Handling all correspondence with your spouse’s attorney, which could minimize stress for you
  • Helping you work towards mutually satisfactory agreements on such issues as alimony, child support, child custody, etc.
  • Providing you with effective representation in court if you’re unable to resolve certain disputes with your spouse
  • Handling all paperwork and administrative tasks

At the Law Offices of Ronald K. Stitch, our goal is to make getting a divorce in California as painless as possible for our clients while also protecting their rights. To learn more about what our Westlake Village divorce attorney can do for you, contact us online or call us at 818-237-4574.

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