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What Are the Basic Requirements for Filing for Divorce?

Sometimes, when the fighting gets to be too much or when spouses grow more and more distant from one another, one or both of them will decide that their marriage simply can no longer be held together, and they are best off divorcing. In California, a divorce (also referred to as a dissolution) puts a legal and permanent end to the marital relationship. This means that once the divorce process is complete, a person is considered to be single and can remarry if they so choose.

Fault is not a factor in a California divorce. Couples can cite "irreconcilable differences" as the reason for their divorce. No one will be found "guilty" or "not guilty," and a person need not prove to the court that any sort of misconduct took place. This is the essence of living in a "no-fault" divorce state. The court's primary concern is reaching an agreement that is fair to both sides, allowing them to move forward as single individuals.

It will take at least six months or more starting from the date a spouse files for divorce for the entire process to be complete. This is because California law has established a certain amount of time that must pass before a divorce can be approved by the court. That time period is six months beginning with the filing of divorce with the court.

In addition, California has residency requirements for getting a divorce. One of the parties must have lived in the state for the previous six months and also lived in the county in which they will file for divorce in the previous three months. If the parties are both California residents but do not live in the same county, they may be able to file in either county, once the three-month period has passed.

These are only the bare-bones basics about the requirements for filing for divorce in California. In fact, divorce is a complex process. People who are wondering if divorce is right for them may want to consult a family law attorney who can help them make an informed decision, as well as help them know what to expect throughout the divorce process.