Common California Divorce Myths Debunked

divorce myths

Going through a divorce is stressful enough, and you’re sure to hear various stories from family and friends about their experiences of their California divorce process.

Many people will make assumptions based upon erroneous information that they have been told by other people or found on the internet while searching for information on getting a divorce In California.

Family law is complex, and regulations differ from state to state, so hiring a local divorce attorney is your best choice. The best way to ensure you don’t get sucked in or misled by some of the typical divorce myths is to hire an experienced divorce lawyer

The Myths And The Truth About Divorce In California

Divorce laws vary from state to state. Attorneys specializing in divorce and family court matters will be able to help explain the truth about divorce in California.

Myth #1. In California, cheating is grounds for a fault-based divorce. 

Truth: California is a no-fault divorce state.

Some states will allow spouses to file for divorce based upon fault. However, California is a no-fault divorce state and only allows divorce on two grounds on which spouses may file for divorce under Section 2310 of the California family code.

  • Permanent legal incapacity of one spouse to make decisions
  • Irreconcilable differences are the most common grounds for divorce in the state of California and indicate an era parable breakdown of the marriage

The only way your spouse committing adultery may be relevant to your divorce is if they used community finances to pay for trips or gifts. If this is the case, the money they spent could be deducted from their share during the equitable distribution of the divorce process.

Myth #2. The State Of California requires that divorcing spouses split assets 50-50.

Truth: California requires an equitable split; that does not necessarily mean equal.

California is a community property state; however, that does not mean that divorcing spouses will be required to divide their assets equally. What California law does require is equal distribution of any community properties; however, if there are assets that qualify as one spouse’s property, it is not subject to distribution.

All community property assets will be divided as “equitable,” not necessarily equally, which is determined due to the facts and circumstances of each situation. Money earned during the marriage is also considered community property. The judge could order a 50-50 split or an unequal distribution of community property depending on the marriage and divorce factors.

Myth #3. The wife will always get alimony and a California divorce

Truth: Alimony is not always part of the divorce process, and both partners will have an equal opportunity to request alimony.

California generally awards alimony in cases where there is a significant difference in the spouse’s current income and the earning capacity. Determining whether or not a spouse receives alimony depends upon which house has the most significant earning potential.

Factors to determine if an award of alimony is reasonable or necessary include:

  • How long the two people were married
  • What the financial needs are of each spouse
  • The ability of each spouse to pay living expenses
  • The education level and work experience of each spouse
  • The age and health condition of each spouse

Myth #4. Primary custody always goes to the mother in a California divorce.

Truth: In a California divorce, both parents have an equal opportunity when determining the custody of children.

In California, child custody is determined based on what is in the children’s best interest, and California laws do not inherently favor either spouse unless one is deemed unfit.

Factors when determining child custody include:

  • Relationship of the child with a parent
  • Financial circumstances of each parent
  • Living accommodations of each parent
  • Occurrence of domestic violence
  • Substance abuse by either party
  • School and community

Myth #5. One arty can reject a divorce in California

Truth: A spouse cannot reject a divorce, deny or force you to remain married in the State of California.

That’s not to say that they can make it difficult for you to obtain a divorce. For instance, refusing to sign divorce papers or not responding when being served divorce papers are considered uncontested. The judge may grant a default divorce due to the non-action of the spouse.

Work With An Expert Attorney, Experienced In Family Law

At Azemika & Azemika, we devote our law practice to helping families navigate the challenges of divorce, child custody, child support, visitation, spousal support, and other family court issues and create customized solutions for each case.

We proudly serve the community of Bakersfield, California, and our partners have a combined total of over 56 years of experience in family law. We will help you ensure your parental rights are protected. Contact us today for a consultation.

A Guide To Choosing The Right Divorce Lawyer

divorce lawyer

Once you decide it’s time for you and your spouse to get a divorce, it is time to hire a divorce lawyer. Hiring a divorce attorney can feel overwhelming, and you want to ensure that you get an attorney experienced in family law.

There are many attorneys out there, but you want someone you can trust who understands your situation and how to navigate the complexities of Divorce court and family law.

To help you choose the best lawyer to handle your divorce, we will share several factors to consider.

Essential Factors To Consider When Hiring A Divorce Lawyer

1. What Is Their Specialty, And Level Of Experience?

There are many types of attorneys, and you don’t want to hire a business attorney to handle your divorce. There is a tremendous difference between working with someone experienced in family law and someone who is a criminal or business attorney.

Family law attorneys are well trained, educated, and experienced in dealing with family law issues, including divorce cases, child custody, division of property, child support, and navigating the complex laws of Family Court. Ensure that you choose an attorney who is experienced with divorce, an expert at negotiating, and is also experienced in courtroom trials.

2. Interview Different Divorce Attorneys

Take your time and interview a few different attorneys, and do not choose the first one you find. Attorneys have different strengths, and it is essential to understand what skills will be most helpful in your divorce.

Every divorce case is different, and if you think your divorce may go to court, you want to have a reasonably good trial attorney. If you feel like your divorce will be resolved without court, then an attorney who is strong in negotiations would be essential. Start by finding three possible divorce lawyers for your case, and set up interviews for each. After meeting with all three and understanding their perspective on your case, it’ll be easier for you to decide.

3. What Type Of Divorce Process Do You Anticipate?

Determine what type of divorce process suits your goal, needs, and situation. There are several types, including:

  • An uncontested divorce is also known as a friendly divorce; it allows couples to negotiate the terms of their divorce. There will be no court litigation as teams can work together amicably.
  • A contested divorce is ideal if you and your spouse cannot agree on community property division, child custody, child support, and alimony.
  • No-fault divorce is when you and your spouse or partner are divorcing because of irreconcilable differences.
  • An At-fault divorce is used when one or both parties have committed adultery, spousal abandonment, domestic abuse, mental illness, etc.
  • Limited divorce is similar to legal separation and is suitable for couples who require time to organize or fix legal and financial issues.
  • A Default divorce happens when one of the parties fails to appear in court and is considered a non-responding spouse and defaults.
  • A Summary divorce, also known as summary dissolution, may be an option for you and your spouse if you do not have any debts or children and your assets are limited. They are also similar to an uncontested divorce.

4. Choose A Divorce Lawyer Who Values, Respects, And Practices Professional Ethics

Some attorneys are bad apples, and if you come across a smooth-talking lawyer who nonchalantly shares confidential case information with you to try and impress you, run the other way. The best divorce lawyer will give you respect and follow professional ethics.

5. Consider The Cost

Hiring a lawyer can be expensive; however, you don’t want to choose your attorney because they have the least expensive rate. A higher price attorney also does not necessarily mean that they have more experience, nor does it mean that they would be able to change the overall result of your case.

Once you know what you can afford, find a couple of different divorce lawyers within your budget range; if you have budget constraints, talk with your divorce attorney to see if there are any flexible payment options.

6. Choose A Local Divorce Attorney

Choosing a local family law attorney practice in your area is a priority as they will be more familiar with county and state divorce laws, as well as judges and other legal officials.

7. Do Your Research

Ask friends and family for any recommendations they may have for a reasonable divorce attorney in your community. You can also check the internet for reviews to find out their history, access to resources, or how long they’ve been in the area.

8. Questions To Ask Your Divorce Attorney

  • Do you have a paralegal or assistant that I will be working with regularly?
  • Do you have any idea how long the divorce process will take?
  • How often will you give me updates?
  • What is the best way for you to get in touch with your divorce lawyer?
  • How much experience do you have with mediation, going to trial, and family law issues?

9. Choose The Divorce Attorney That Feels Right

Getting a divorce is a personal process. It is essential that you can trust your divorce attorney and that you believe they have your best interest in mind throughout your divorce process. If you feel uncomfortable, it is reasonable to consider that feeling lasts through the entire divorce process. Choose the divorce attorney who has the experience and knowledge as well as the personality that suits your needs.

Azemika Law Is Here To Help

At Azemika & Azemika in Bakersfield, California, our law firm’s practice is exclusively devoted to family law. If you need the support of an attorney to handle child custody, divorce, child visitation, dissolution of domestic partnerships, or other family issues, we have the expertise to help you. Contact us today for a consultation.

What Are The Top Reasons Couples File For Divorce?


When you marry someone, you imagine you will be with them for life. Unfortunately, happily ever after, till death do us part, is not always how the marriage ends. 

Divorce is never an easy choice, and most of us know someone, either a friend or family member, who has gone through a divorce. Often during the divorce process, you will need a divorce attorney to help you navigate the complex process of going through family court, childcare, child support and custody, and property division.

Usually, there is more than one reason why a couple decides to get a divorce, and there are multiple layers of overlapping experiences and issues. We have worked with many couples going through a divorce and will share with you some of the most common reasons why couples file for divorce.

Most Common Reasons For A Divorce

1. Lack Of Commitment

In a marriage, two people agree to commit themselves to each other. When one or both parties do not meet the commitment expectations, the marriage relationship begins to deteriorate. Sometimes, people do not discuss explicitly what commitment means to them and find out too late that their beliefs on commitment don’t align.

While a lack of commitment may seem vague or even hard to prove, there are always signs in a relationship when a lack of commitment is an issue. Many people contribute a lack of commitment to being a founding cause for other underlying problems.

2. Irreconcilable Differences

Irreconcilable differences are the grounds for most no-fault divorces. When asked why marriages ended in divorce, people often say they grew apart and are no longer compatible. People can be incompatible in several areas, including:

  • Getting married when they’re too young increases the chances of developing apart
  • A lack of shared values and beliefs
  • Sexual difficulties and preferences 
  • Religious differences
  • Parenting methods

It’s not to say that two people with differences can’t work through them and stay married. However, in most successful marriages, the couple shares an overlapping set of values, beliefs, priorities, and interests. Incompatibility on some of the core parts of the foundation for a long-lasting marriage significantly increases a couple’s chance of filing for divorce.

3. Communication Issues

Communication is key to a healthy marriage. Suppose a couple has poor communication and cannot talk to each other, listen or argue too much, whether it’s over money, responsibilities, children, etc. In that case, it can significantly damage the marriage.

When you recognize that you and your spouse are often arguing and the fights are often repetitive and never really get resolved, that is a sign that the two of you need help to learn how to communicate more effectively. Couples therapy and conflict resolution workshops can benefit marriage under these circumstances.

4. Infidelity

Extramarital affairs are a contributing factor to why some couples divorce. However, an affair is often just the last straw. Many times some of those other issues, when left unresolved, can lead to emotional and physical infidelity, and while that is not an excuse, it can influence some people’s behavior.

5. Money

Financial incompatibility generally stems from differences in values and priorities around financial decisions. Fights over money happen when one spouse doesn’t agree with how the other spouse handles their money. Some of the signs that you and your spouse are financially incompatible are:

  • Secrecy between partners and even outright lies regarding financial decisions or purchases such as making an investment, withdrawing money from savings, or even buying clothes regularly and lying about it
  • You and your partner cannot talk calmly about financial decisions or have regular conversations about your finances
  • If one or both of you make large purchases without consulting the other or take other actions that affect your joint finances
  • You and your partner won’t or can’t set any joint financial goals such as building in retirement, saving to buy a house, or having kids
  • When you and your partner do set financial goals together, one of you or both of you keeps subverting them

Generally, people in the lower income bracket are more likely to have financial incompatibility issues. With less money to go around and more stress about bills, it becomes more likely to fight over money issues. Of course, it can happen between any couple at any income level.

6. Drug And Alcohol-Related Abuse

If one of the spouses has a drinking or substance abuse problem, it can lead to divorce. Signs that your spouse may have a substance abuse issue include:

  • Secretive Behavior
  • Paranoia and other personality changes
  • Mood swings and increased anger
  • Changes and hygiene, appetite, and sleep
  • Neglecting family and work responsibilities
  • Secret and excessive money use
  • Difficulty with memory or attention
  • Hanging around new friends and abandoning old friends or activities

7. Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse is a viable reason for divorce, and domestic abuse can include verbal, physical, or emotional abuse. Unfortunately, women are much more likely than men to be a victim of partner-related domestic abuse. Understanding the warning signs of domestic abuse and how to protect yourself when leaving an abusive partner is critical.

You can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline and RAINN for help. Make sure your abuser cannot track your calls or search your history and location, especially if you share cell phones or phone plans or are on the same network as your computer, smartphone, or tablet.

8. Conflict Over Parenting And Family Responsibilities

Discussing parenting methods and essential family responsibilities, including household obligations, ahead of time can save you a lot of stress in your marriage. If you and your spouse have conflicting ideas about parenting methods and who is responsible for what around the house, it can eventually lead to resentment and divorce if there is no resolution.

Variations In Severity Of Reasons For Divorce

Every marriage is different, and most couples will face at least one of the issues on this list at some point during their marriage. Some issues such as domestic violence and severe substance abuse are more severe. Many of the other ones may be able to be worked through if both spouses are willing to put in the effort and time.

If You Need A Divorce Attorney, We Are Here To Help

Azemika & Azemika specializes in family law, divorce law, adoption, and child custody & support, and our attorneys are experts in California divorce laws. Hiring an experienced family law attorney is critical to ensure your rights and needs are covered if you are going through a divorce and have questions.

Contact us today for a consultation.

Can You Modify Alimony in California?

Details on aspects of your divorce, such as asset and property division, child support, child custody, and alimony, are all detailed in the divorce agreement when your divorce is finalized. These things are set for a fixed amount of time and are determined, taking into account the situation and circumstances of both parties.

The courts will allow either spouse to petition the court for a spousal support modification. However, they will not simply grant a modification; you must prove there is a valid reason to modify the arrangement that is currently in place. Keep reading to learn more about spousal support and modifications to the orders.

How Alimony is Calculated

When judges decide about alimony, they examine both the needs of the lower-earning spouse and the ability of the higher-earning spouse to pay. Here is an example of the need and ability to pay.

One spouse has an income of $2,000 per month, and their expenses are $2,800. Therefore, they will need $800 to cover their monthly expenses. The other spouse’s income is $6,000 per month, with expenses of $4,500. The judge may order the spouse who can afford support to pay $800 per month in alimony.

Most of the time, judges will use a formula to determine the need and ability to pay. The formula used is:

Monthly Alimony Payment = 40% of the higher-earning spouse’s net income per month – 50% of the lower-earning spouse’s net income per month.

So in our example above, the formula would be:

Spouse 1: 40% of $6,000 = $2,400

Spouse 2: 50% of $2,000 = $1,000

$2,400 – $1,000 = $1,400

So in our example, Spouse 1 would pay Spouse 2 $1,400 each month in alimony.

Judges use these formulas as guides. The amount can vary based on certain factors, such as if either spouse:

  • Pays for college for your children
  • Has high medical bills
  • Has a significant amount of money in savings

And you can also come to an agreement on an amount with your spouse that better fits your situation.

Valid Reasons for an Alimony Order Modification

The spouse who is requesting the modification is the one who must provide proof to the court. While the courts will consider any reason that a modification is requested, some of the more common reasons for a modification request include:

  • The paying spouse experiences a significant (temporary or permanent) drop in income.
  • The receiving spouse gets a raise or a new job and no longer needs financial support.
  • The receiving spouse remarries or is cohabitating.
  • Child support has ended.
  • The paying spouse is incarcerated.
  • The receiving spouse isn’t making an effort to become self-supporting.
  • Income or assets were misrepresented by either spouse, which would affect the support order.

How to Modify Alimony

The easiest way to get a modification is for each party to agree to the modification, draft an agreement, and present it to the judge for approval. Your family law attorney can represent you during the mediation and file the correct forms with the court.

If you are unable to agree with your spouse, the spouse requesting the modification must:

  • Fill out the court documents (Request for Order and Income and Expense Declaration)
  • Have the documents reviewed by the court’s family law facilitator
  • Make two copies of the document
  • File the documents with the court
  • Get a court date
  • Serve the papers to the other spouse
  • File proof of service
  • Attend the court hearing

The judge will then review the evidence and decide if a modification should be implemented. 

Let the Expert Team at Azemika Law Help You With Your Alimony Modification

If you’ve found that your financial situation has changed since your divorce was final and you need to request a modification to your spousal support order, the team at Azemika Law can help. While you aren’t required to have an attorney in order to file for a modification, it can benefit you to have one of our experienced attorneys by your side to ensure that you put your best case forward.

At Azemika & Azemika, our team is exclusively dedicated to practicing family law. We utilize our vast experience in family law to customize each case to the specific needs of our clients. Our goal is to provide knowledgeable, aggressive, and affordable legal representation. We focus on your family so that you can focus on the future.
Contact us today for a case evaluation.