Grounds for divorce in California

In order to file for divorce in California, there must first be a ground for divorce listed in the Original Petition for Divorce. There are two grounds in the California Family Code, including ”irreconcilable differences,” and “incurable insanity.”

Irreconcilable differences are those grounds which are determined by the court to be adequate reasons for the marriage to not continue and which makes it evident that the marriage should be terminated. This is the equivalent for what most states call a “no-fault” divorce.

A marriage may be terminated by reasons of incurable insanity only upon ample proof, including competent medical or psychiatric testimony from a professional, that the spouse was at the time the petition for dissolution of marriage was filed, and actually remains, incurably insane. (California Code - Sections: 2310).

Name of Parties

The spouse who files for divorce is called the Petitioner. The other spouse is known as the Respondent.

Where to file your divorce case

In order to file for a divorce in California: (i) you and/or your spouse must have lived in California for at least six months before filing for divorce; and (ii) you must file in the superior court in the county in which either you or your spouse has lived for at least three months.

The waiting period

The divorce process will take at least 6 months from the date the person filing for divorce officially lets his or her spouse or domestic partner know about the divorce. The case can take longer. BUT it cannot be faster than the 6 months. This is a mandatory waiting period required by California law and no couple can be divorced faster than 6 months. You will be able to get all your paperwork turned in to the court and your divorce judgment approved, but the divorce itself will not be final until at least 6 months after starting the case.

Grounds for Divorce

Section 2310.  Dissolution of the marriage or legal separation of theparties may be based on either of the following grounds, which shall be pleaded generally:
     (a) Irreconcilable differences, which have caused the irremediable breakdown of the marriage.
     (b) Permanent legal incapacity to make decisions.

Section 2311.  Irreconcilable differences are those grounds which are determined by the court to be substantial reasons for not continuing the marriage and which make it appear that the marriage should be dissolved.

Section 2312.  A marriage may be dissolved on the grounds of permanent legal incapacity to make decisions only upon proof, including competent medical or psychiatric testimony, that the spouse was at the time the petition was filed, and remains, permanently lacking the legal capacity to make decisions.

Courtesy of: California Constitution and Statutes

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Residency Requirement

Section 2320.  (a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), a judgment of dissolution of marriage may not be entered unless one of the parties to the marriage has been a resident of this state for six months and of the county in which the proceeding is filed for three months next preceding the filing of the petition.
     (b) (1) A judgment for dissolution, nullity, or legal separation of a marriage between persons of the same sex may be entered, even if neither spouse is a resident of, or maintains a domicile in, this state at the time the proceedings are filed, if the following apply:
     (A) The marriage was entered in California.
     (B) Neither party to the marriage resides in a jurisdiction that will dissolve the marriage. If the jurisdiction does not recognize the marriage, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the jurisdiction will not dissolve the marriage.
     (2) For the purposes of this subdivision, the superior court in the county where the marriage was entered shall be the proper court for the proceeding. The dissolution, nullity, or legal separation shall be adjudicated in accordance with California law.

Courtesy of: California Constitution and Statutes

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The Waiting Period

Section 2339.  (a) 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.
     (b) The court may extend the six-month period described in subdivision (a) for good cause shown.

Courtesy of: California Constitution and Statutes

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