No one enters a marriage with the expectation of getting a divorce. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 43% of marriages end in divorce in the U.S. If you are considering filing for divorce, it is essential to understand what it entails to better prepare and protect yourself. Our Laguna Woods family law team details the grounds for divorce in California along with residency requirements and alternative options to consider.
When it comes to residency requirements, the rule to remember is that you or your spouse must live in California to obtain a divorce in the state. One of the parties must have lived in California for at least six months and be a resident in the county where the divorce is filed at least three months before filing. An exception applies to same-sex couples who married in California but lived in a state that will not dissolve same-sex marriages.
If you do not meet the residency requirements to file for divorce in California, you can file for a legal separation in the interim. It is highly recommended you consult with a family law lawyer to walk you through the separation.
Understanding California's Grounds for Divorce
California is a "no-fault" divorce state meaning the spouse asking for the divorce does not need to prove that the other spouse did something wrong to end the marriage. There are only two grounds for divorce in California — irreconcilable difference and incurable insanity. Let's explore what each of these grounds means.
Also known as no-fault divorce, irreconcilable differences mean that there has been an irreversible breakdown in the marriage, and no future efforts regarding reconciliation would be able to repair the marriage. Irreconcilable difference is the most common ground for divorce in California.
Filing divorce on the grounds of incurable insanity means that one of the parties to the marriage was deemed permanently mentally incapacitated. Filing under this ground is rare, and the burden of proof is high. Your family attorney would have to prove two things — the spouse is suffering from incurable insanity when the divorce is filed, and medical professionals expect this condition to continue.
An Alternative To Consider
Divorce is a major step to take, and it is often recommended to consider other options first. Legal separation is a common alternative to divorce. In a legal separation, the marriage remains legally intact, whereas the marriage is ended with divorce. Like a divorce, the issues addressed by the court's final order or legal separation agreement are the same matters. These matters include:
- Child support
- Parenting rights
- Spousal support
- Division of property
- Payment of debts
Whether you decide to file for legal separation or divorce, it is critical to seek the guidance of a family law attorney. Family law can get complicated, and factors such as children, properties owned, and debts accumulated can affect the approach necessary. An attorney will provide you with legal advice to save you time and frustration.
Contact Our Laguna Woods Family Law Team Today
Taking the first steps towards filing for divorce can seem daunting and heart-wrenching. It is vital to have a support team to give you legal guidance and provide you with some ease. Here at Giammichele Law, APC, our experienced family law team will assist you through the divorce process from start to finish.
If you are considering filing for divorce or separation, contact us today through our website or give us a call at (949) 303-7811 to find out how we can help you!