If you are thinking about ending your marriage, you may be wondering what you will have to show in court in order to be granted a divorce. The answer is: not much.

California is a no-fault divorce state. The party seeking a divorce does not have to allege a specific reason or place any blame on the other spouse. Rather, the divorce seeker (called the petitioner) must state that the spouses have “irreconcilable differences.”

Irreconcilable differences simply means that the parties do not get along. California was the first state to switch to a no-fault divorce regime, and it did so in 1970. Since then, many other states have followed. However, in other states, parties may have the option of alleging fault on the basis of reasons like adultery or cruelty.

In states where fault is alleged, the petitioner must prove through evidence and testimony that a divorce based on fault is appropriate. This can be difficult and destructive to prove. Requiring fault can lead to parties lying to courts in order to end the marriage. Thus, the no-fault divorce system is favored by many people.

There is one other ground for divorce that can be used besides irreconcilable differences: permanent legal incapacity of the other spouse to make decisions. This condition must be proven by medical testimony. Moreover, it is only used in the rarest of cases.

What Are the Other Requirements for Divorce in California?

In addition to asserting irreconcilable differences, basic residency requirements must be met. Either the petitioner or the other spouse must have lived in:

California for the last six months; andThe county where you will file for divorce for the last three months.

Thus, you may have to wait to file for your divorce until the requirements can be met.

Does Fault Matter for Purposes of Setting Alimony?

Some people think that if they are cheated on, they are entitled to alimony (or spousal support). This is not true, and a court does not usually consider which side is at fault for ending the marriage when deciding if spousal support is proper.

Contact a San Jose Divorce Lawyer

If you are interested in learning more about what getting a divorce in California entails, you should contact a knowledgeable divorce attorney. A divorce lawyer can look at the facts of your case and tell you how long a divorce will take and how issues like spousal support and child custody could be decided. Contact a skilled San Jose, CA divorce attorney at Dominion Law Group, LLP at 408-288-5592 to set up your first meeting today.


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