What Are The Legal Grounds For Obtaining a Divorce
Divorce laws are different from state to state. However, in all states, you should specify a purpose (“grounds”) for demanding a divorce in your divorce petition (or complaint). A divorce is classified as “no-fault” or “fault-based.”
Divorce in California is known as the dissolution of marriage, which means the marriage is over. Every state, including California, provides some form of no-fault divorce to its residents. A no-fault divorce implies that the court does not require either partner to be held responsible for the marriage’s dissolution.
According to Kaufman Steinberg LLP – family law, you can notify the court that you are filing for divorce due to significant disagreements. Let’s see the legal grounds for obtaining a divorce in California.
Divorce Without Fault
Every state allows divorcing couples to file a “no-fault” divorce. A no-fault divorce seems to be the only option in certain states.
In California, a marriage can be dissolved under the following two conditions:
- Irreconcilable disagreements
- Incurable insanity
In many states, the cause for a no-fault marriage is that the couple has “unresolved issues” or that the relationship has “irreparably broken down.” In a no-fault divorce, neither spouse has to assert or demonstrate that the other caused the marriage to end. Alternatively, the partner who wants a divorce affirms that the marriage is now over and that there is no realistic prospect of reconciliation.
Most couples opt for a no-fault divorce because they are much less challenging and controversial than fault-based divorces. There is generally less stress during a no-fault divorce process because you do not have to prove that your partner did something wrong.
It is especially beneficial not to accuse your spouse of wrongdoing if you have kids who the deliberations may impact. Also, if you don’t have to fight over who is at fault, the divorce may end more quickly. Less conflict almost always leads to lower legal fees.
Unreasonable behavior is a commonly used reason to establish the grounds for divorce. You must prove that your partner has acted in such a manner that nobody expects you to keep living with them. The petitioner makes various accusations against the defendant in an irrational behavior claim.
One or two reasons may be enough if they are severe enough; abuse, for example. If the allegations are fairly minor, such as financial irresponsibility or dedicating too much time to a career, five or six allegations may be needed.
What constitutes unreasonable behavior is a matter of opinion, but here are a few common examples:
- Consistently absent
- Refusal to interact socially
- Addiction to drugs
- Pathological gambling
- Sex deprivation
- Working excessively long hours
This is not an exhaustive list. Unreasonable behavior is a more straightforward fact to use in an uncontested divorce because the spouse is not required to admit to the behavior. This is in contrast to adultery or child abuse, which must be proven.
Permanent Legal Disability
Another reason for divorce in California is legal incapacity or “incurable insanity.” Getting proof is complicated, and obtaining a divorce is difficult. To be successful, you must provide the jury with medical documentation or psychiatric testimony to demonstrate this.
If your partner was incurably insane when you filed for divorce, then medical professionals anticipate that they will be incapacitated and unable to make decisions for the foreseeable future.
Submitting for divorce based on legal incapacity will lengthen your court appearances and raise the total cost of your divorce. No-fault divorce requires no proof and thus is a much quicker divorce procedure.
Marriage Dissolution or Legal Separation?
California is one of only a few states that allow you to file for a legal separation as a substitute for divorce. This process enables partners to live separate lives while maintaining the many benefits of marriage, such as Veteran’s benefits, medical and dental insurance, and social security benefits.
Both procedures have the same steps and enable a judge to split community property and decide custody and support issues. Still, with a legal separation, the couple remains married but lives apart in the end.
This option might appeal to those whose religion prohibits them from filing for divorce or to couples concerned that a divorce will harm their children. Both parties must want the marriage to end for this process to be successful. If you want to learn more about family law and divorce proceedings in California, contact a divorce attorney for a consultation on your case.