Types of Divorce in California

If you are considering filing for a divorce in California, an awareness about the types of divorce may be in understanding the process. An experienced divorce lawyer can explain each option to you in further detail and go over which one may be right for you.

Are There Different Types of Divorce in California?

There are 4 main divorce options in California.

No-Fault Divorce

In California, if one spouse wants to get a divorce (also known as dissolution), he/she has an absolute right to do so. Either partner can choose to end the marriage without a valid reason or accusation. If one spouse files a petition for dissolution of marriage with the court, the court must terminate the marriage without consideration of wrongdoing.

The only explanation needed is irreconcilable differences, which simply means that the couple is incompatible. You just have to check the appropriate box on the petition and the court will grant your divorce. You do not need any further explanation or proof.

Uncontested Divorce

If both parties reach a mutual agreement as to all aspects of their divorce, they have reached an uncontested divorce. This includes ending of the marriage, division of property, financial issues, spousal support, child custody, child support, child visitation, and other issues.

There is no formal trial, and you do not have to appear in court. Even though this is quick and simple, it is important to consult an attorney so you do not lose rights you did not know you had.

Simplified Divorce (Summary Dissolution)

Summary dissolution is an uncontested, no-fault divorce where there is no conflict between spouses. During proceedings, the couple must each represent themselves in court. You or your spouse must have lived in California for 6 months and in the county in which you are filing for 3 months before filing the petition. The couple must meet a few conditions to use this simple way of ending a short-term marriage.

You and your spouse:

–  have been married for less than 5 years as of the date the divorce action is filed.

–  have no children together (born or adopted) before or during the term of the marriage, and the wife, to her knowledge, is not pregnant at the time of the filing.

–  agree that neither will receive spousal support.

–  must jointly file a petition for dissolution of marriage with the ground of irreconcilable differences.

–  do not own any part of land or buildings . . . no interest/ownership in real estate.

–  do not owe more than $6,000 in joint debt (excluding car loans) since the date of marriage or registration of domestic partnership.

–  do not have separate property worth more than $40,000 (excluding automobiles)

–  have less than $40,000 worth of property acquired during marriage (called “community property”) except in regard to automobiles.

Limited Divorce

In California, a limited divorce is similar to legal separation. This option gives the couple time to arrange division of assets and child custody issues before the divorce is final. Spouses must live separately and cannot have sexual relations with each other or other people. The marriage is not dissolved and each person’s status remains the same.

For more information on the different types of divorces in California, or to discuss your desire to file for divorce or legal separation from your spouse, contact the expert Los Angeles family lawyers at Walzer & Melcher today.