• California divorce laws

Understanding California Divorce Laws

Filing for divorce in California does not require the use of an attorney. Simply, a party needs to familiarize himself with California divorce laws. Below is a brief overview of common California divorce laws that should be examined before filing for divorce. Read on to learn more.

California Divorce Waiting Period

California divorce waiting period duration is six months from the date the person filing for divorce officially serves his or her spouse with the petition for dissolution and notice to appear. Most amicable divorce cases can be completely resolved long before the 6 months waiting period passes! The six month mandatory waiting period is prescribed in the Family Code:

Subject to subdivision (b) and to Sections 2340 to 2344, inclusive, 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.

See Family Law Code section 2339(a) for more information.

No couple can get divorced (meaning obtain a termination date of marriage) prior to the completion of this waiting period. The six month waiting period allows both parties to get all their paperwork turned into the court in order to have their divorce judgement approved. Note, though the final judgment may be approved, the marriage will not be officially terminated until the conclusion of the six month waiting period.

California Divorce Laws Adultery

In California, the standard grounds for divorce are:

1. Incurable Insanity
2. Irreconcilable Differences

Under California state law, adultery is not a valid legal ground for divorce. This means that a person does not have to prove that her spouse has been unfaithful to him in order to request a divorce.

In addition, though adultery may not be legal grounds for divorce, a spouse may be able to recover compensation from the cheating spouse if he/she used community property money to fund the extramarital relationship. For example, if a spouse took $4,000 of community property to fund a romantic getaway with his mistress, then the wife may request for a reimbursement to be made to the community.

California Divorce Laws Alimony

When divorcing, both parties may be able to designate how much alimony will be paid to the supported spouse. If the parties cannot agree, the court will make the final determination based on the following factors:

1. The extent to which the earning capacity of each party is sufficient to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage.
2. The extent to which the supported party contributed to the attainment of an education, training, a career position, or a license by the supporting party.
3. The ability of the supporting party to pay spousal support, taking into account the supporting party’s earning capacity, earned and unearned income, assets, and standard of living.
4. The needs of each party based on the standard of living established during the marriage.
5. The obligations and assets, including the separate property, of each party.
6. The duration of the marriage.
7. The ability of the supported party to engage in gainful employment without unduly interfering with the interests of dependent children in the custody of the party.
8. The age and health of the parties.
9. Documented evidence of any history of domestic violence.
10. The immediate and specific tax consequences to each party.
11. The balance of the hardships to each party.
12. The goal that the supported party shall be self-supporting within a reasonable period of time.
13. The criminal conviction of an abusive spouse shall be considered in making a reduction or elimination of a spousal support award.
14. Any other factors the court determines are just and equitable.

See Family Law Code section 4320 for more information.

California Divorce Laws Child Support

Child support is the amount of money the court orders one parent to pay to the other parent to help pay for the support of a child and their living expenses. The court uses a formula referred to as “guideline” to calculatehow much child support will be paid to the custodial parent. The guideline calculation depends on the following:

1. How much money the parents earn or can earn
2. How much other income each parent receives
3. How many children these parents have together
4. How much time each parent spends with their children (time-share)
5. The tax filing status of each parent
6. Support of children from other relationships
7. Health insurance expenses
8. Mandatory union dues
9. Mandatory retirement contributions
10. The cost of sharing daycare and uninsured health-care costs

California Military Divorce Laws

California military divorce laws have differing rules for residency requirements, dividing military pensions, and obtaining process service upon an active duty spouse. For example, a military couple can be divorced in California without meeting the standard six month residency rule. A spouse must live and be stationed in California. The grounds for military divorce are the same as a civilian divorce. Community property is divided the same, however, the Uniformed Services Former Spouse’s Protection Act governs how military retirements benefits are calculated and divided upon divorce. Finally, child support and alimony cannot exceed 60% of the military member’s pay and allowances.

Contact A People’s Choice for more educational information about California divorce laws. If you want to file for a divorce in California, and need low-cost, professional assistance in preparing the paperwork, A People’s Choice can offer the perfect solution with a variety of options to get your case started and quickly maneuvered through the legal system.

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By |2018-01-18T15:47:25+00:00August 25th, 2015|Family Law|0 Comments

About the Author:

Sandra M. McCarthy, founder of A People’s Choice Inc., has worked exclusively in the legal field since 1976. She served as the 2004-2005 President of CALDA (California Association of Legal Document Assistants). She obtained a Paralegal Certificate from the University of California, Santa Barbara. During her career in the legal field, she has worked as a freelance paralegal, law office manager and paralegal studies teacher, and has co-authored numerous legal publications and written hundreds of self-help legal articles. As a registered Legal Document Assistant, Sandy is dedicated to providing affordable, low-cost, self-help document preparation services for California consumers in all 58 counties.

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