Divorcing Your Spouse In California

Divorcing your spouse requires a comprehensive understanding of relevant regulations in the state of California.

Before seeking a divorce, it’s important to do your homework so you understand the divorce process, or seek legal assistance to get help understanding the nuances associated with this process. The state of California has specific requirements when it comes to finalizing a divorce and each step has to be followed accordingly. (Download our handy divorce flow chart.)

California Requirements to file for a Divorce

Let’s begin with the requirements to file for a divorce. In general, for a divorce to be filed in California, one of the two parties must show proof of residence in the state for the previous six months. It’s also important to note the filing has to be done in the specific county one of the parties is residing in at the time of their divorce.

What Constitutes as a Reason for Divorce

Qualified Domestic Relations Order
There are several reasons for getting a divorce and these have to be kept in mind during the proceedings. This can vary from situation to situation but divorces in California are set at “no-fault.” This means the party asking for a divorce does not have to provide a reason if they choose not to do so.

The process to file a divorce includes a strict six-month waiting period until the filing is finalized. This ensures both parties have time to think about their decision and whether or not it is the best decision moving forward. There is no way around this waiting period.

To get started, you are expected to file for a divorce through the superior court as long as you meet the residency requirements. This can be done in multiple ways including filing through an online divorce platform like Hello Divorce. All relevant paperwork has to be drafted before the documents are presented to the court.

At this point, there are several different directions divorce proceedings can go. In most cases, the divorce ends up happening without requiring access to lawyers as everything is split between the two sources including childcare and property. However, if you cannot come to agreement with your ex, then a mediator will be required to make sure both parties get what they deserve during the split.

Related: To Finalize Your Divorce, You’ll Need to Make Decisions on These 3 Things

Summary Dissolution

Couples also have the opportunity to move forward with a summary dissolution.

This is only possible if all of the listed requirements are met including things such as being married for less than five years, having no children together, owning less than $41,000 in properties (minus cars), and not owning any additional land/buildings. These are just some of the requirements for a summary dissolution to go through.

Splitting Assets

California is a community property state. The idea is that when a couple is married, according to the law, they are deemed to be one regarding property ownership and/or assets that have accumulated during the marriage. This means any type of asset that came during the marriage is under the name of both individuals. The same applies to debt that has been accrued since the marriage was officialized.

Property is also split as long as both spouses agree on what comes under this definition of community property. Sometimes, a mediator is going to be involved during the decision-making process to ensure a fair outcome is finalized. If a mediator doesn’t provide help, the judge has the final say on how the assets are split.

Child Support in California

When it comes to managing child support, the state of California focuses on a wide array of factors to determine the final amount. These factors can include the children’s ages, net income, retirement plan contributions, mortgage interest, health insurance expenses, union dues, time spent with each parent, and more.

Keep this in mind when it comes to divorcing your spouse while having children. You might also consider reviewing our resources, Who gets custody of the children? and Calculating timeshare kids spend with each parent.

Final Thoughts

Divorcing your spouse in California is an elongated process and involves multiple steps. To learn more about the process and seek legal guidance, please take the opportunity to reach out to Hello Divorce.

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