Divorce in California

“we work closely with clients to help them understand the law”

Filing for divorce in California? If you, your spouse, or your child resides in California, California has jurisdiction over your divorce case. Therefore, it’s important to understand California divorce laws. At the Law Offices of Carl Sizemore, we work closely with clients to help them understand the law and their options under the law. We work with California residents and people out of state, focusing on achieving resolutions tailored to their unique needs.

California is a No-Fault State

In California, either spouse can obtain a divorce without having to prove adultery, abandonment, or any other specific grounds. Prior to adopting the “No–Fault” policy, a spouse could be awarded an uneven distribution of the community assets if they could prove they were not the party at fault for the failed marriage, which led to most cases being over litigated. Currently, there are only two boxes to check on the Petition for Dissolution: Irreconcilable Differences – meaning you just can’t get along; or, Incurable Insanity – and even though many parties believe their spouses are insane, they are probably not medically certified as such.


Prior to filing for Dissolution of Marriage in California, a party must have been a resident of the State of California for six months immediately preceding the filing, and a resident of the County the case is filed in for at least three months. Parties unable to meet the residency requirements often file for a Legal Separation, and convert the case to a dissolution once the residency requirements have been met. Child Custody and support cases may have different jurisdictional requirements, and you should consult with an attorney to ensure that you meet those requirements.

Summary Dissolution

In limited circumstances, California law allows for summary dissolution. This process is usually quicker than a divorce proceeding because there are typically less complex issues involved. In order to file for summary dissolution in California, the parties must have been married less than five years, must not have children, and must not own any interest in any real estate.

Dissolution of Marriage/Divorce

In order to file for divorce in California, a couple must live separately for at least 18 months. Once the divorce process is initiated, the court will determine child custody and related issues, property division and support, as well as other issues.

Legal Separation

Legal Separation is an available option for individuals who wish to maintain the status of married person, without the physical aspect of being married. California divorce courts determine property division, child custody, and other related issues.


Certain circumstances may make the couple eligible for declaration of nullity of marriage, commonly referred to as an “annulment”. At the completion of this proceeding, the parties are restored to as unmarried status – as if they were never married at all.

Want a free initial consultation?

To arrange a free initial consultation with an experienced attorney who is certified in Family Law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization, call:

(619) 442-2100