As a divorce attorney, one of the questions I am frequently asked is what
are the grounds for divorce (or marital dissolution) in California? In
California, when we talk about obtaining a judgment of marital dissolution
we’re really talking about getting a divorce. Getting a
divorce in California is commonly referred to by divorce lawyers and
family law judges as obtaining a judgment of marital dissolution (or in the context
of legal separation you would obtain a judgment of legal separation without
dissolving your marital status/relationship).
Historically, before 1969, there were “fault” based grounds
available to obtain a divorce in California. For example, before the California
legislature enacted the Family Law Act in 1969, a spouse could get a divorce
by proving the other spouse was guilty of adultery, extreme cruelty (resulting
in grievous bodily injury or grievous mental suffering), willful desertion,
willful neglect, or habitual intemperance, or if the other spouse was
convicted of a felony, or was incurably insane. Historically, the emphasis
on proving “fault” to get a divorce in California added to
the bitterness between the spouses and sometimes even motivated spouses
to divorce. This was especially true because a trial court had discretion,
by statute, to award a so called “innocent” spouse with more
than half of the community property from the martial estate if it was
proven that the divorce was based on adultery, extreme cruelty, or incurable insanity.
Thankfully, California has done away with the “fault” based
concept of divorce in California. Today, a divorce lawyer preparing your
divorce petition for dissolution of marriage will generally use one of
the two grounds available for getting a divorce or a judgment for marital
dissolution in California: (1) irreconcilable differences or (2)incurable insanity.
Getting a divorce based on irreconcilable differences is the more common
of the two grounds for marital dissolution in California. Divorce Lawyers
will often make reference to California Family Code Section 2310, which
specifically refers to obtaining a divorce or judgment of marital dissolution
on the grounds that irreconcilable differences exist that have caused
the “irremediable breakdown of the marriage.”
In contrast, a divorce based on incurable insanity is the second ground,
but requires proof that the insane spouse was incurably insane at the
time of the filing of the divorce petition and remains incurably insane.
Getting a divorce based on the ground of incurable insanity can be found
in California’s Family Code Section 2312.
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You can read more about the
divorce process in Los Angeles and
basic divorce procedures on our website. However, if you are in need of legal representation with a
child support, or other family law matter in Los Angeles, request a
FREE initial consultation with a Los Angeles divorce lawyer from
Castellanos & Associates, APLC today at (323) 655-2105.
In addition, we hope you will follow our managing partner,
Edwin Castellanos, and the Los Angeles Divorce Lawyers at Castellanos & Associates, APLC on