Legal Professional?
Build Your Business

California Divorce



To begin a divorce proceeding in California, you must be a California resident for six months and a county resident for three months.

Grounds for Divorce in California

California allows either spouse to file for divorce by claiming irreconcilable differences. To begin the divorce proceedings, one spouse (or his or her divorce attorney) must file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the appropriate California Superior Court.

If both spouses agree on the division of property and debts, child custody, and support matters, the divorce can be finalized without a trial. If there is disagreement, these issues will be resolved during a court hearing.

Your California divorce attorney can help guide you through the California divorce process.

California Property Division & Spousal Maintenance

California is a community property state, which means that all property not classified as "separate" is considered "marital property" and will be divided equally upon divorce. Separate property includes property acquired before the marriage and property obtainedduring the marriage via gift or inheritance to strictly one spouse.

Under certain conditions, the court will order alimony (also known as spousal support or maintenance) to be paid by one spouse to the other. The length and amount of spousal support awarded depends on several factors, including the length of the marriage and each spouse's financial situation and earning capacity.

Your California divorce lawyer can help negotiate a fair division of property and alimony agreement if necessary.

California Child Custody & Child Support

California law requires that the court make child custody decisions based on what is in the best interests of the child. California courts will consider joint custody if it is in the best interests of the child. Generally, a parent who is not awarded custody is granted visitation rights.

In California, child support is calculated based on how much time each parent cares for the child and each parent's net disposable monthly income. After the court has ruled on child support, the paying parent can make online payments through the California State Disbursement Unit. The child support is then paid to the other parent.

Additional California Divorce Resources

Lawyers.com California divorce, alimony, child custody & support information

California family code

California child support information