California Grounds for Divorce: Do I Need a Reason?
Filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is the initial document that you file with the courts to start a divorce proceeding in California. The filing spouse (the petitioner) will request the court to terminate the marriage under specified grounds. It is important to note that California is a no-fault divorce state, which means that you cannot allege a spouse’s wrongdoing was the reason for you filing for divorce.
Grounds for Filing: Understanding the Requirement
Your Petition for Dissolution of Marriage will declare the appropriate California grounds upon which you want your dissolution sought for. The appropriate grounds will be that which you and your spouse agree upon and one that you can substantiate (if it were contested) in court. There are only two grounds that you can legally use in a dissolution request to the court:
- Irreconcilable Differences – These differences are grounds that are determined by the court to be substantial enough for not continuing on with the marriage. These reasons can make it appear as though the only solution is through dissolution. Irreconcilable differences do not have a definition other than this, but can include instances where a couple no longer gets along, there was an extra-marital affair, etc.
- Incurable Insanity – This is a rare occurrence, but a marriage may be dissolved on the grounds of incurable insanity only upon proof – including competent medical or psychiatric testimony – that one spouse was (at the time the petition was filed) incurably insane.
Grounds for Divorce Not the Same as Alimony
Fault may be considered by the court as a factor when it comes to dividing property or awarding alimony to one spouse or another. This is because the courts do consider the length of marriage and how the marriage ended when awarding (or not awarding) spousal support. There is no guarantee that an at-fault party would be forced to pay spousal support. Instead, spousal support is based on several factors, including:
- The earning capacity of a non-working spouse;
- The earnings of the working spouse;
- The amount of childcare and house care a spouse has put into the marriage;
- The extent to which the supported party contributed to the attainment of education, career or license;
- The obligations and assets of each party;
- The needs of each party based on the standard of living that was established during the marriage;
- The age and health of each party;
- The ability of the supported party to engage in gainful employment;
- The balance of hardships to each party;
- The immediate and long-term tax consequences of the divorce;
- The criminal conviction of an abusive spouse;
- The goal that the supported party should soon become self-supporting; and
- Any other factors the courts determine are justifiable.
Considering Divorce? Contact a California Family Law Attorney
If you are considering divorce, regardless of your grounds, it is important to speak with a California family law attorney. Sarieh Law Offices, ALC is here to help you navigate through the family court system and find the best way to dissolve your marriage. We offer legal separation, divorce, and even collaborative divorce services. Schedule a free consultation with our divorce lawyers today at 714-542-6200 or request more information online.