Divorce Guide

Divorce Guide


California Divorce Cases


California divorce cases usually begin when the petitioner or the lawyer files a petition for the dissolution of the marriage in a superior court. This petition is not only filed for the dissolution of the marriage but also to deal with the issues such as child custody, child support, spousal support, property division etc. Here, one would be able to understand the terms and conditions of a California divorce.

Time frame and residency requirements

Proof of residence is required for a divorce to be granted in California. The requirement states that the couple should have resided in California for at least six months. It also requires that the couple should have stayed for at least three months in the county where they file for divorce, for the divorce decree to be issued. If the couple does not meet the residency requirement, then they may choose to file for legal separation and later on amend their case.

Types of Divorces

Divorce cases in California are of two types. They are: a divorce granted for incurable insanity and a divorce granted for irreconcilable differences. If a person is seeking a divorce on the grounds of incurable insanity then that person should prove it. He/she must prove to the court that the other spouse is been certified as being insane by a psychiatrist. There is also sufficient proof which suggests that this condition will continue for the lifetime of the individual.

The court grants the divorce on the grounds for irreconcilable differences as it does not require any documentation as a proof. It just accepts the statement of the plaintiff spouse (the one who files the petition) as a fact.

Some considerations

There are fast track courts for divorces instituted by California. They are for the spouses:

  • who have been married for less than 5 years
  • who are filing jointly for the dissolution of marriage
  • have no children from the marriage, own no real estate and possess less than $4000 in joint debts

If all the above requirements are met and there is an agreement between the spouses on the terms of divorce and the disposal of joint property, then the filing of the case is much easier. The paperwork for this type of divorce is available free online, considering the couple has filed the divorce under the Simplified Procedure Statue. This saves the cost for an attorney.

Benefits of the Simplified Procedure Statue

This procedure is of great use to the couple as it saves the cost of an attorney and the trial. On top of it, one can fill his/her forms on their own. The couple must fill out a “joint petition for Summary Dissolution of Marriage” form FL-800 if they agree on ending their marriage. Along with this form they should also fill a property agreement form which shows that they have arrived at the value and division of community property.

The signatures on the papers should be authorized by the notary. After getting the papers signed and notarized the plaintiff spouse must locate the family court in his/her county, file the papers and then wait for six months.

California divorce cases rarely approve a spousal support requests in divorce proceedings. A spouse who is convicted of abuse not necessarily has to be financially supported. It’s the court who determines the amount and the duration of a spousal support.


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