Getting Divorced in the Golden State- California Divorce Laws

Getting Divorced in the Golden State- California Divorce Laws

Modern divorce laws were created in California in 1970, when then-Governor Ronald Reagan (himself a divorcee) signed a law allowing couples to get divorced on a no-fault basis. Today, divorce laws in California continue to be ahead of the curve in adapting to changes in society.

California divorce laws – Adultery

California not only created no-fault grounds for divorce, California divorce laws completely eliminated fault grounds for divorce. That means that an angry wife cannot run to court and complain that her husband is cheating on her. She can only say that she has “irreconcilable differences” with her husband and the divorce can be granted on that basis.

California divorce laws – Property

State of California divorce laws state that most of the property either spouse gets during the marriage is owned jointly by the couple. So, for example, if a couple buys a new car and registers it only in the husband’s name the car is still considered property of both spouses. This is called a “community property” law. Each spouse generally has sole ownership of everything they owned before the marriage, as well as any gifts or inheritances received during the marriage.

California divorce laws – Property division

At divorce, all of the property is added up and then divided. The division is usually about 50/50, with each spouse taking half the couple’s assets. That said, judges can alter the split to take into account things like alimony or reasons why fairness demands that one spouse get a higher share.

California divorce laws – Alimony

You might also file this under California divorce laws “spousal support.” A court may order one spouse to pay money to the other spouse on an ongoing basis in order to ensure that the two maintain their standard of living. A judge has to consider factors like the length of the marriage, each spouse’s earning capacity, and whether caring for the children makes working outside the home difficult.

California divorce laws – Child custody and support

When a couple is getting divorced, the needs of any minor children of the couple are perhaps the most important thing for a court to consider. The first issue to resolve is legal custody. This basically means who will have the right and responsibility for making important decisions about the child. This includes things like where the child will go to school and whether the child will observe a religion.

The next issue is physical custody. This is basically a matter of where the child sleeps on a given night. Children commonly split their time about evenly with each parent in some form. In other situations, one parent may have sole physical custody and the other parent has regular visitation rights.

Child support is generally determined by a formula provided by the state government. It takes into consideration factors like the income of each spouse and how much time the child is spending with each parent. Generally, the parent that has the child more (or makes much less money) will receive monthly payments from the other parent.

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