Requirements to File for Divorce in California
Like many states, California allows for filing of a “no-fault” divorce. This means that either spouse can file for divorce without having to prove that the other did something wrong. As a result, under California law, the requirements to file for divorce are fairly minimal.
In order to file for divorce in California:
- You must assert that you and your spouse have “irreconcilable differences” (this is the only reason you need in order to file for divorce in California);
- You or your spouse must have lived in California for at least the last six months; and,
- You or your spouse must have lived in the county where you plan to file for at least the last three months.
California Laws Affecting Your Divorce
When contemplating a divorce, it is critical to understand how California’s laws will affect your legal rights and obligations once your marriage is over. Some of the most important laws to consider are those relating to:
- Child custody and visitation rights
- Calculating child support and spousal support
- Division of community and separate property
Since California is a “no-fault” divorce state, the reasons for your divorce are not likely to play much of a role (if any) in determining who gets what in your divorce. However, since the California courts apply fairly strict formulas and factors for determining things like custody rights and child support obligations, it is still critically important to take stock of your situation and consider any steps you might be able to take to better your chances of achieving your desired outcome.
San Diego County Laws, Divorce Customs & Divorce Procedures
Filing for Divorce in San Diego County
If you live in San Diego County, the county court’s website provides a wealth of information for individuals who are considering filing for divorce. This includes:
- California divorce forms
- Self-help resources
- San Diego County divorce FAQs
- Divorce records for San Diego County
- Information for victims of domestic violence
Of course, before making any decisions that can have lifelong implications for you and your children, it is always recommended to speak with an experienced lawyer about your situation.
Like all counties, the courts in San Diego County have unique local rules that parties are required to follow when filing for divorce. For example, in San Diego, divorcing spouses are required to provide an “Income and Expense Declaration” along with various financial records. San Diego’s local divorce rules also address matters relating to custody, visitation, emergency orders, and domestic violence.
Alternative Divorce Procedures in San Diego County
Many people are surprised to learn how easy it can be to keep their divorce out of court. If both spouses are willing to work together to reach an amicable resolution, there are a few different procedures available that can allow divorcing spouses to resolve their differences without resorting to presenting arguments in front of a judge.
One of these procedures is mediation. With mediation, the spouses and their attorneys work with a neutral third-party mediator who helps them try to see each other’s point of view. The mediator does not make any decisions for the spouses, but rather facilitates open discussions that can lead to solutions that work for all parties involved. Learn more about divorce mediation.
Another divorce procedure that is rapidly growing in popularity is what is known as “collaborative law.” In a collaborative law divorce, the spouses sign an up-front agreement stating that they will not take their divorce to court. If they violate the agreement, each spouse will be required to hire a new attorney – resulting in additional time and expense.
With both spouses committed to working out their differences outside of the courtroom, couples that use collaborative law are often able to efficiently reach mutually-acceptable agreements on the terms of their divorce.
Thinking Twice about Your Reasons for Divorce?
Filing for divorce is a major, life-changing decision. If you are having second thoughts about your reasons for divorce, you are not alone. As a Certified Family Law Specialist, San Diego divorce attorney Richard M. Renkin has over 30 years of experience helping spouses weigh their options and consider alternatives when contemplating a divorce.
Ultimately, deciding whether to file for divorce is a deeply personal decision. But, it is also one that can be guided by outside expertise. From legal advice to financial planning to psychological counseling, there are several resources and professionals available to spouses who are on the fence about filing for divorce. While we are by no means providing free legal advice or trying to suggest what might make sense for you, we have represented clients seeking divorce:
- After childbirth
- After loss of a child
- After chemotherapy
- From a cheating husband or wife
- After filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy
If you are on the fence about filing for divorce, we strongly encourage you to seek professional help with your situation. Weighing the possibility of filing for divorce can take a significant emotional toll. While you do not want to rush your decision, seeking advice and guidance can help you align your priorities and make sure that you have all of the information you need to make an informed decision.
The U.S. Divorce Rate is Above Forty Percent
According to the most-recent federal government data, there are 3.4 divorces for every 1,000 members of the U.S. population. But, when focusing solely on married couples, the federal government’s numbers indicate that divorce rate is approximately 40 percent. The actual number is likely to be significantly higher than this, however, as the government’s divorce figures exclude filings in California and five other states.
Divorce and Marriage Numbers are Declining
The number of divorces in the United States has declined slightly almost every year since 2000. However, marriage rates have declined as well. For example:
- In 2000, there were approximately 2,315,000 marriages and 944,000 divorces and annulments in the United States.
- In 2006, there were approximately 2,193,000 marriages and 872,000 divorces and annulments in the United States.
- In 2012, there were approximately 2,131,000 marriages and 851,000 divorces and annulments in the United States.
These numbers show that the overall divorce rate has actually stayed fairly consistent – hovering right around 40 percent. However, again, these divorce and annulment figures exclude data from six states (including California), so the true divorce rate is likely actually higher than 40 percent.
How Does California’s Divorce Rate Compare?
Statistics on California’s divorce rate are not readily available. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that California’s divorce rate is likely somewhere around the national average.