California Divorce Overview

California Family Code § 2300 defines divorce, or dissolution of marriage, as a judge’s order that effectively “restore[s] the parties to the state of unmarried persons.” Declared single again, divorcees face far-reaching, life-altering consequences and changes in their rights and duties.

Residency Requirements for Divorce in California

Under California Family Code § 2320, for a judge to grant a California divorce, one of the spouses must have been a resident of the state for six months, and of the county where filing for at least three months.

An exception to this rule is permitted in the case of nullity proceedings, legal separation, or same-sex marriage.

The Divorce Waiting Period

In California, no judgment of dissolution is final for the purpose of terminating the marriage relationship of the parties until six months have expired from the date of service of a copy of summons and petition or the date of appearance of the respondent, whichever occurs first. (California Family Code § 2339).

No-Fault Divorce

California is a no-fault divorce state. As such, proof of misconduct, such as infidelity, has no bearing on the judge’s decision to grant the divorce. However, proof of misconduct may well be relevant to other family law decisions such as property division,  the calculation of spousal support and attorney fees. “No-fault” simply means the court will not assign blame for the disintegration of the marriage.

A claim by one spouse that the marriage or domestic partnership is defunct will suffice as a basis for the dissolution. The phrase “irreconcilable differences” stands for this idea. Additionally, Los Angeles courts also allow for divorce or legal separation, if one of the spouses permanently lacks legal capacity.

Decisions Before The Court: The Scope Of Divorce Proceedings

While sitting in divorce proceedings, California courts can decide:

Likewise, the courts can issue a judgment regarding property rights and custody of the children with respect to legal separation, without dissolving the marriage. We can assist you with any family law related aspect of a divorce including:

Because a divorce can encompass so many different family law legal issues, it’s important to have an experienced family lawyer with a proven track record on your side