Common California Divorce Myths Debunked

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.

Read more

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