What You Need to Know About No-Fault Divorce in California

Many ask if California is a no-fault divorce state. Here’s everything you need to know about no-fault divorce in California.

California is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that spouses are not required to prove that a spouse was at fault when filing for divorce. In a California no-fault divorce, only one spouse needs to file for divorce on the grounds of “irreconcilable differences”; the other spouse cannot challenge the divorce on these grounds.

What is a no-fault divorce?

A no-fault divorce is a divorce in which a spouse that is filing for divorce does not need to prove that their partner did something wrong. For their divorce to be granted, a spouse does not need to prove their parter’s fault. In a no-fault divorce, spouses’ custody, child support, and even property rights are not affected on the basis of marital misconduct/fault.

The difference between no-fault and fault-based divorce is the grounds on which the divorce is filed. In a fault-based divorce, spouses request a divorce on the basis of their partner’s marital wrongdoing, such as adultery. In a no-fault divorce state, spouses are not required to prove fault as grounds for divorce. Spouses filing for divorce in a fault-based state must establish grounds that the divorce is one partner’s fault. This means that if you were filing for fault-based divorce on the grounds of adultery, you would have to prove that your spouse cheated on you.

Is California a no-fault divorce state?

California is a no-fault divorce state, which means that spouses are not required to prove their partner’s marital misconduct in order to get a divorce. Spouses can petition for divorce in California on the grounds of “irreconcilable differences”, or that the couple does not get along. In a no-fault state, only one spouse needs to file for divorce. A spouse cannot challenge their partner’s grounds of “irreconcilable differences” for divorce in California.

Is fault-based divorce allowed in California?

No, spouses cannot establish fault as grounds for divorce in California. Rights to property, child custody, and child support cannot be affected by a spouse’s marital wrongdoing. Contrary to fault-based divorce states, California does not require or accept proof of a spouse’s fault in order to be granted a divorce. Spouses cannot challenge the grounds of their partner’s petition for divorce.

How to Get a No-Fault Divorce in California

To get a no-fault divorce in California, it’s important that you establish “irreconcilable differences” as grounds for divorce in your initial paperwork. Settle divorce terms in court or mediation and file any other necessary paperwork. For more information about how to start a divorce in California, click here.

FAQs

How does marital misconduct affect divorce in California?

In California divorces, a spouse’s marital misconduct typically does NOT affect their rights to property, child custody, child support. However, certain misconduct can be a factor when determining rights in a divorce. Domestic violence can affect one’s right to child custody or spousal support; a wasteful dissipation of marital assets can affect property rights.

How long does a no-fault divorce take in California?

California divorces have a six-month waiting period after the date of filing, meaning that a divorce takes a minimum of six months. California divorces can take more than six months, but never less.

Is no-fault divorce good?

No-fault divorce is good because a spouse that files for divorce does not need to prove their partner’s marital misconduct in order to be granted the divorce. In a fault-based divorce state, for example, a spouse that files for divorce on the grounds of adultery would need to prove that their partner cheated on them.

When was no-fault divorce introduced in California?

No-fault divorce was introduced to California on January 1, 1970, by the Family Law Act of 1969. With the adoption of this new law, California replaced their fault-based system with divorce proceedings on the grounds of “irreconcilable differences”.

Free Consultation With an Experienced Attorney in California

If you need a divorce without fault in California, contact us. We’ll get you in touch with the most qualified attorney for your unique legal matter. Get your free consultation with one of our California Divorce Attorneys today!