California Divorce Laws, Attorneys & Family Lawyers CA


California State court grants divorce on both no-fault and fault grounds. It is mostly deemed as a liberal State.

It had been a problem for few decades to find out the exact divorce rate in the state, because the number of divorces jumped higher than that of the marriages in a particular year. Annulment rate was also very high during this period. Though, divorce rate was 5.8 % per 1,000 of the population according to the statistics of 1980. The recent estimation has predicted a divorce rate of 0.38% per capita per year.

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Divorce Grounds in California

California has a divorce rate which is much higher than the consummation rate.

According to a research, divorce rate in California ranges from 69-83%, the average figure is 75.54%, but the official divorce rate is 57%. Only one third of the marriages are successful and two third of the marriages end up in divorce.

There are two major divorce grounds in California, which are:

Incurable Insanity

Marriage with a mentally handicapped person is banned in California. If one of the spouses is mentally incapacitated beyond cure, the other spouse can divorce him or her.  Though to validate this divorce ground in California, a certified surgeon’s written testimony is required. Since the insanity ratio is not high, this is not a very common divorce ground in California.

Irreconcilable Differences

If there are irreconcilable differences between the spouses, both of them can file for divorce. Lack of mutual understanding is a legitimate divorce ground in California.

These are the two major divorce grounds in California.

Contact a professional divorce attorney or divorce lawyer for detailed information regarding divorce grounds in California.

California Divorce Laws

California has following divorce laws:


According to California divorce laws, being a resident of California for about six months is prerequisite for filing the divorce case. Else the case will be dismissed. Moreover, it is allowed that either party can file for a divorce even if the other party is not agreeing for the action.

Documents required filing divorce

Under California divorce laws, the major documents that are needed for filing a divorce case are:

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  • Appearance
  • Stipulations
  • Waivers
  • Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure
  • Declaration Re Service of Declaration of Disclosure
  • Income and Expense Statement
  • Marital Settlement Agreement
  • Declaration for Default or Uncontested Dissolution of Marriage

Distribution of Property

As California divorce laws promote equitable distribution of property, the marital property is divided in equal halves. In case of economic circumstances warrant, the judge court may award an asset of the community estate to one party depending on the conditions.

Change of Name or Restoration of Name

Both the spouses can revert back to their pre-marriage names, when the case is desolated.

Mediation Counseling

According to the California divorce laws, mediation counseling is not mandatory but optional. Mediators do counseling sessions to make either of the spouses rethink their divorce decision.


In California divorce laws, alimony calculation is based on a complicated mathematical formula. If there raises negotiation over the terms of dissolution, concessions on alimony may be made. The reason behind is to protect spouses against confiscation of investments made in the marriage.

Child Custody

In California State the child custody is mostly granted to mother. Because the percentage of times the mother receives custody has been anticipated diversely from a low of 80 percent to a high of 95 percent.

Child Support

According to California divorce laws, mother usually gets child support and maintenance payments if her ex-husband has an ongoing relationship with his children. She may also consider it right that the children can visit their father.

Contact a professional divorce attorney or divorce lawyer for comprehensive divorce laws information in your state.

California Annulment Laws

Annulment and divorce are used in same sense i.e. for the termination of a marriage. However annulment is the court’s order that the marriage never took place and is illegal. The grounds for annulment under the California annulment laws are:


Duress means compelling or threatening. If your marriage is based on such a threat, you are entitled to file for annulment under the California annulment laws.

Mental Illness

If your spouse is mentally incapacitated, you can obtain annulment in California according to California annulment laws.

Lack of Assent to the Marriage

If the marriage was performed without the consent of one of the spouses, it can be annulled under California annulment laws.


To obtain California annulment on this ground a person must prove that his/her partner is unable to consummate the marriage.

Underage Marriage

A person under the age of 14 years or a person above 14 years but under the age of 18 years can’t marry without the consent of the parents. Such a marriage can be annulled under the California annulment laws.


A person must be single to enter into a marriage. If a person is already married and marries another person, it is called bigamy. It is also a ground for annulment according to California annulment laws.


California annulment can also be obtained in case of a marriage between blood relations like, father and daughter, mother and son, nephew and uncle, sister and brother, nephew and aunt, etc.

California Divorce Laws Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How long must I be a resident of California to be eligible for the filing of divorce?

    Under the California divorce law you are required at minimum to be a resident of the State for at least either 6 months or 180 (whichever is longer) and three months for the county of residence.

  2. What happens if the defendant spouse doesn”t reside in California?

    Under the California divorce law there are no requirements for the respondent to be a resident of California.

  3. What are the complications that the plaintiff will face when the defendant spouse doesn”t reside in California?

    If the defendant spouse doesn’t have residence in California, then a special process server will deliver the Complaint for Divorce to the defendant.

  4. How long will it take for me to be rid of my spouse?

    Each divorce case is different and no one can really tell you how long it will take you to be rid of your spouse.

  5. What is the filing fee for divorce in the State of California?

    The filing fee is dependent on the county of California that you have residence of.

  6. How do divorce attorneys in California charge for their services?

    California divorce lawyers charge a fee for their services or charge you on a per hour basis.

  7. How much will I have to pay for hiring the services of a California divorce lawyer?

    The California divorce lawyer fee really depends on the complexity of the divorce case. Your financial health, the nominal fee of the California divorce lawyer and of course your negotiating skill will play secondary roles in the total bill. You could end up paying anywhere between a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars as your divorce liability.

  8. Do I really require a California divorce lawyer?

    Well you can represent yourself in court. But, it is highly recommended to have a California divorce lawyer to represent you.

  9. Can my spouse and I hire the same divorce attorney and save us some divorce liability?

    No and yes. No, it isn’t possible for a California divorce lawyer to represent both of the spouses. However, yes it is possible to save some divorce liability; if both spouses have an understanding then the same California divorce lawyer could prepare the paper for both the spouses.

  10. Does the State of California recognize common laws?

    No, the State of California doesn’t recognize common laws.

  11. Is California a No-Fault State?

    Yes, California is a no fault State. In fact in the State of California you can’t file for divorce with grounds.

  12. How long does a couple have to be separated before filing for divorce in California?

    The State of California doesn’t have any requirements for separation before divorce.

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