California’s 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 marriage ending. Misconduct in a marriage, such as adultery, is also irrelevant regarding the terms of a divorce decree.
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 court system won’t consider fault on the part of either spouse when determining the terms of the divorce. That includes issues like alimony, property division, child support and child custody. Additionally, California is a community property state, which means that all the property acquired during the marriage is equally divided among the two spouses regardless of how either acted during the marriage.
Exceptions to Fault Considerations
In California, there are very limited situations in which the court will consider the wrongdoing on the part of a spouse when determining divorce terms. Lying or hiding assets during divorce proceedings can result in the court being strict and imposing sanctions on that person. 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, either they or their spouse are required to have lived in the state at least six months beforehand. Filing a divorce petition can be done at their county’s Superior Court. Paperwork must be filed against the other party. It takes a minimum of six months from the time the paperwork is served to finalize a divorce in Riverside, California.
The steps to accomplishing the finalization of your divorce can easily 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.