California divorce laws: The basic aspects

The highlights of the divorce laws in California

If you are planning to have a divorce in the Golden State, it is important to learn more about the process of the legal breakup, its basic principles, and the most effective ways to complete your CA divorce process.

To learn the basics of divorce laws in California, you will need to read hundreds of pages of California Family Code and spend hours of time picking up the required information suitable for your personal case. However, we’ve already done the work for you! In this article, you will find the focal points of California marriage divorce laws and will be able to get a clear picture of what to expect from initiating your dissolution of marriage. The information provided is absolutely understandable and is free from complicated legal concepts and terms.

California divorce process

To begin with, you will need to know whether you are eligible to get a divorce in the Golden State, according to California divorce law. There are only two basic requirements you must meet to launch your dissolution of marriage in the state. The first is that either you or your spouse should be a resident of California for at least 180 days. The second is that you (or your partner) need to reside in the county where you are planning to receive a legal breakup for a minimum of 3 months.

Another aspect that should be taken into account is that divorce law in California provides for 6 months to be the shortest period for finalizing any dissolution of marriage. Therefore, you will not be able to complete your legal breakup faster than 6 months.

Note: To get a divorce, you need to have a marriage certificate and be officially married. If you are not legally married, there is no need to file for the dissolution of marriage, according to the state of California divorce laws.

As for the grounds for your breakup, the Golden State offers only two basic options:

  • Irreconcilable differences - This is surely the most common reason for divorce. As a rule, 98% of spouses identified this option as the main cause of their divorce.
  • Incurable insanity - Choosing this ground for divorce requires providing significant proof, for example, medical or psychiatric documents that are accepted by the authorities.

The divorce process in CA might be organized in two different ways:

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  1. Uncontested divorce - This type of legal separation is a kind of a “peaceful divorce” Uncontested divorce is surely preferable since it can be performed without a lawyer’s assistance, saving you a great deal of money. In this case, the spouses will need to have a common view on the main issues in the divorce.
  2. Contested divorce - This option is much more complicated and pricey. Each party will require the help of a lawyer and will take part in the court’s hearings. It’s best to avoid a contested divorce due to the many financial and organizational obstacles that may be faced.

The divorce process in California: The main principles

Looking for a California divorce process step-by-step guide?

First of all, you will need to choose whether you are going to have a divorce, legal separation or annulment. So, what’s the difference between these concepts?

Divorce is the dissolution of marriage. After you get a divorce you will be completely single and have the opportunity to marry or have a domestic partnership with another person.

Having a legal separation means that your marriage is not finished completely. In this case, you won’t be able to marry or have a domestic partnership with someone else. Many people are wondering in which cases you might choose this type of legal breakup. The reasons vary: some couples don’t want to get a standard divorce for personal beliefs, some for religion, while others are facing financial issues. The process of divorce in California is similar to the process of legal separation.

Annulment may take place in case your marriage is not legally valid. For example, a spouse is already married to someone else or the marriage took place between close blood relatives.

Generally, most couples require getting a traditional divorce. To launch its process, follow a few simple steps:

  1. The petitioner (the person who initiates the legal breakup) fills out the required forms for dissolution of marriage, which provide personal information along with some data about common children and property (if there are any).
  2. The respondent (the spouse of the petitioner) accepts the divorce documents and files the dissolution of marriage papers from his or her side to provide a positive response to the divorce petition. Since the court becomes involved in this stage of the divorce process, the respondent should pay specific fees within 30 days if they do not want to attend the hearing.
  3. The court approves and signs the papers for the legal breakup in no sooner than 6 months.

The process described above is the easiest way to get a divorce and doesn’t require the help of lawyers, studying California divorce law alimony, or property division. In this case, spouses come to an agreement with all the basic aspects of their divorce and don’t require solving any legal issues in court.

If the spouses can’t come to an agreement regarding important issues like child custody or property division, they might ask the judge for child custody or support, spousal support, as well as other types of orders.

In conclusion, each legal breakup is completely unique and might require filling out different papers, as well as a lawyer’s assistance or the judge’s orders.

By the way, if you have been married for less than 5 years and meet a list of certain requirements, according to the state’s law, you can get a summary dissolution. This kind of divorce is much easier than the standard option and will require less effort.

Generally, collecting all the papers and filling them out properly usually requires lots of time and effort. If you want to make your divorce process easier, we are always ready to give you a helping hand. With our service, you will get all the required documents along with a detailed guide on how to fill them out within the shortest time.

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