California’s No-Fault Divorce Law
California paved the way for couples to be able to terminate their marriages without needing to blame each other for shortcomings. It was the first state in the country to pass no-fault divorce laws in 1969. No-fault divorce introduced a new concept that essentially means that neither spouse can claim that the other is at fault for the end of the marriage. Misconduct in a marriage, such as adultery, is also irrelevant in a divorce action.
What is the History of No-Fault Divorce Law?
Before the Family Law Act of 1969, married couples in California could only divorce if they listed reasons such as desertion, adultery, or extreme cruelty. Generally, California looked toward the divorce reform in New York, which occurred in 1966. This law allowed spouses who were residents of New York to get a divorce if they lived apart for at least two years. New York’s bill set the bar for California’s own divorce reform, which influenced the divorce laws throughout the country.
Effect on Divorce Decree
In the majority of cases, California’s family court system won’t consider fault on the part of either spouse when determining the terms of the divorce. This includes but is not always the case and not limited to issues like spousal support (or alimony, child support and child custody. Additionally, California is a community property state, which means that property acquired during the marriage is typically divided equally among the two spouses.
Exceptions to Fault Considerations
In California, there are limited situations in which the court will consider the wrongdoing on the part of a spouse when determining issues in a divorce. Failing to disclose or hiding assets during divorce proceedings can result in the court imposing sanctions on that party. In other words, that party may be required to pay more to the other party. Custody decisions, however, are always made with the best interests of the child in mind.
Divorce Process Overview
For a person to file for divorce in the state of California, the person or spouse is required to have lived in the state at least six months beforehand. The filing of a divorce petition can be done at their county’s Superior Court. The paperwork must be filed and served against the other party. It takes a minimum of six months from the time the paperwork is served to terminate marital status in the counties of Riverside and San Bernardino, California.
The steps to initiating and finalizing your divorce can extend beyond six months without the help of an experienced Riverside divorce attorney, especially in the case of a contested divorce in which the spouses cannot agree to the terms. Contact Bratton Razo & Lord for a free consultation. We will help you understand the next step to take for a successful divorce.