Divorce in California is referred to as Dissolution of Marriage. California has a no fault divorce system and the primary ground for divorce is “irreconcilable differences”. (Incurable insanity is also a ground but is rarely used). No specific facts need to be provided to the court to prove irreconcilable differences, only the testimony of one of the parties that such differences exist and have led to the complete breakdown of the marriage. The court is prohibited by law from hearing evidence of a parties’ wrongdoing.

A divorce proceeding is started by filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the Superior Court and serving the other party with the Petition and Summons. The other party has 30 days to respond by filing Response. Once the Response is filed, the case can proceed with the Court. The law requires both sides to make full disclosure to the other party of all of the assets, obligations, income and expenses relating to them and the community. Once there is full disclosure, the matter can be concluded either by a marital settlement agreement or orders made by the Court upon presentation of evidence.

As part of the divorce process, the court will make all necessary orders relating to custody, visitation, support, division of property and debts, pensions and retirement, attorneys’ fees, restraining orders and all other necessary orders relating to the parties’ factual situation.