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California Divorce Law

Divorce Laws in California

According to California divorce laws, you do not need to prove grounds in order to receive a dissolution of marriage. The court will grant a petition on the grounds that the marriage has “irreconcilable differences” that have caused an irrevocable breakdown of the marriage, which means that if one spouse wants to file for divorce under the divorce law in California, that person may do so even if the other spouse disagrees. This is referred to as a no fault divorce. Additionally, one of the spouses must have been a resident in the state of California for a continuous 6 months, as well as a resident of the county for a continuous 3 months, prior to filing a petition for divorce in California.

Spousal Support & Community Property in California

California is known as a community property state. Community property is any asset acquired or income earned by a married person while living with his or her spouse. According to the divorce laws in California, all community property should be divided equally between the husband and wife if there is no written agreement to the contrary.

Spousal support is determined at the time of trial by the California Family Code. Such factors as the length of the marriage and the parties’ prior living standard are considered in determining the amount and duration that should be paid. Typically, in marriages of less than 10 years, spousal support will be paid for approximately ½ the length of the marriage, according to California divorce laws.

California Child Support, Child Visitation and Child Custody

Divorce law in California provides for joint custody. Joint “legal custody” can be defined as the right of both parents to make decisions concerning the upbringing of their child, including education, medical and religious decisions. Divorce law in California also provides for physical custody, which will determine where the child lives. “Secondary Physical Custody” can also be awarded to the parent without primary physical custody. This is known as child visitation rights.

Child support is determined according to the Agnos Minimum Child Support Standards Act of California divorce law. This law establishes minimum levels of acceptable support based on the percent of income earned by the non-custodial parent. Expect to pay child support until at least 18 years of age. However, if your child has not graduated from high school, you may be ordered to continue child support until that point or until age 19, which ever occurs first.

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