What Are The Grounds For Divorce In California?
In the old days, the party suing for divorce had to prove that their spouse had wronged them, and their spouse could fight to stay married.
Today, California is a no-fault divorce state. Either party can file, and it is not necessary for a reluctant spouse to “agree” to get divorced. There is no requirement to prove grounds of wrongdoing – only that the marriage is broken. However, domestic violence, extramarital affairs and other factors contributing to the demise of the marriage can come into play in property division, alimony and child custody.
The attorneys of Maggio Law provide compassionate counsel and skilled representation for contested or uncontested divorces in Orange County and Southern California.
California Has No-Fault Divorce, But …
There are just two grounds for divorce: (a) the couple’s irreconcilable differences or (b) one spouse’s permanent incapacity to make decisions. The only fault-based path to divorce is annulment, which usually arises soon after marriage.
“Fault” grounds sometimes do pertain in related divorce matters:
• The California courts do not consider wrongdoing in dividing community property. Neither spouse will be punished for adultery, cruelty, abandonment or other traditional grounds for divorce. However, courts will incorporate reimbursement for marital waste – money spent by one spouse on adulterous affairs.
• The California alimony statute specifically mentions domestic violence as a factor. The court will consider a history of abuse by the paying spouse, as well as a history of violence by the supported spouse against the paying spouse.
• Any domestic violence (during the marriage or after separation), such as spousal abuse, child abuse or stalking, can have a significant influence on custody proceedings and visitation rights.
We Understand How The Courts Will View The Evidence
While you don’t have to prove grounds to get a divorce, one spouse’s wrongdoing can still be a factor in family court proceedings. Our lawyers will explain the law and what it could mean for your case. Whatever the circumstances, our role is to anticipate those complicating factors and guide you to the most favorable outcome of your divorce.