Common Reasons People File for Divorce in California
No one gets married expecting to get a divorce, but sometimes ending a marriage may be necessary. The reasons for getting a divorce are unique to each situation. However, the underlying causes for a divorce filing can give some context for how these proceedings unfold.
What Are the Grounds for Divorce?
Only two legal grounds for divorce are acknowledged by California law. These are:
- Irreconcilable differences that have resulted in the marriage’s failure
- A permanent legal inability to make decisions
The foundation for divorce cases consists of these generic and purposefully ambiguous ideas. California is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that a spouse does not need to prove any wrongdoing to file for separation. Sometimes, this is referred to as “no-fault divorce.” These are the grounds for a judgment to grant a divorce order, whether the divorce is contested or uncontested.
Types of Divorce Proceedings
Because every divorce hearing is different, those seeking a divorce must decide which hearing format is best for their relationship. Depending on how each spouse feels about their marriage, a couple might be able to avoid going to court. However, if spouses are at odds and unable to agree, going to court might be the last remaining option for getting a fair divorce. There are three typical paths that divorce procedures take after filing:
- Mediation: In a certain kind of divorce case, a mediator acts as a neutral third party between spouses. Similar to a contract negotiation, the mediator works together with each side to create a written agreement that details any obligations as a result of separation or annulment. Couples who get along well and are adept at diplomatically negotiating topics like property division, child custody, etc. are often given this style of divorce format.
- Collaborative Proceedings: Collaborative divorce is an alternative to litigation and mediation. Each party selects a collaborative divorce lawyer to work with, and then the terms of the divorce are negotiated and agreed upon with full candor from both parties. Although the collaborative divorce procedure can be difficult, it can be streamlined with the right legal team.
- Litigation: Litigation is the most common type of divorce procedure, which requires both parties to hire attorneys and present their cases in court. Couples who have reached the stage where they are unable to negotiate the terms of their divorce frequently choose litigation. It can resolve any divorce-related issues that are still fiercely fought between spouses.
Facing mediation vs. litigation is one of the toughest parts of filing for divorce. Understanding the relationship dynamics between two spouses is essential for determining the right style of proceedings in any divorce. Having a firm plan of what assets, financial holdings, and childcare responsibilities will be discussed during these meetings is part of planning for a divorce.
Common Reasons for Seeking a Divorce
Although California is a no-fault divorce state, certain common situations often result in divorce. For some couples, these reasons can explain why their filings were made, as well as why certain types of proceedings are required for settlement. Some more common reasons for filing for divorce that could be considered “irreconcilable differences” include:
- Adultery, or being unfaithful to a significant other
- Imprisonment of either spouse, especially for violent crimes like assault or murder
- Domestic violence, ranging from physical abuse to sexual or child abuse
- Emotional abuse through manipulation, intimidation, or terroristic threats
- Substance use and dependency, which caused a rift in the relationship
- Financial abuse, where one spouse is taking advantage of another by way of financial manipulation
- Lack of romantic interest in one another after time
These situations can immediately put spouses in harm’s way, either through threats of violence or emotional distress. Each divorce case is different, and how marital issues are handled can cause some to see divorce as the best way to handle these differences.
Q: Does the applicant or respondent win more in a divorce?
A: There is no clear advantage to being either the applicant or respondent for a divorce. However, if the petitioner does not respond within 30 days of being served divorce papers, the applicant’s requests will be granted by the court, which is known as a “default divorce.” If the respondent replies to the divorce papers, they can object to any claims made by the applicant on topics like marital assets, childcare, etc.
Q: Can infidelity affect alimony?
A: The judge cannot provide one spouse with spousal assistance or alimony simply because the other spouse cheated. The unfaithful spouse may also be responsible for the harm this infidelity has created. Whatever the circumstances, the court will only grant alimony if one spouse requires it to maintain the same standard of living that they had while married. When they anticipate that both spouses will be in comparable financial conditions after the divorce, California courts rarely grant alimony.
Q: Can I file for divorce if my spouse is sent to jail?
A: An individual has the legal right to divorce a partner who is incarcerated. This also holds whether the person seeking a divorce has a spouse who is incarcerated or whether the person seeking a divorce is an inmate. The court often does not distinguish between state and federal prisons. However, each state’s jurisdiction will determine its own divorce rules. Those who have spouses in out-of-state prisons must file for divorce in that jurisdiction.
Q: Can a divorced couple get remarried?
A: Once a divorce is finalized, both previously married individuals are once again considered single. These individuals can then get married to other people. However, until the divorce is 100% finalized, neither spouse can enter into another marriage. Once remarried, obligations like spousal support will continue for their court-ordered duration as well.
Finding Representation for a Divorce
Divorce can be necessary in some situations, but without the right legal representation, the process can be incredibly stressful for everyone involved. Fortunately, the legal staff at Bickford Blado & Botros can guide those seeking a divorce through the separation procedure and ensure that they have the legal support they need. Go to our website and get in touch with us now for additional details on our areas of service and other family law specialties.
Feel Free to Contact Our Office with Any Questions