California Divorce Law – A Marriage and Family Counseling Perspective
If you’re searching for information about California divorce law, you’ve come to the right place. On this page, you won’t get a lot of fancy-talking legalese that no one should have to wade through. You’ll just get the straight answers that you’re looking for.
I’m not a lawyer, but as a marriage and family counselor with more than 20 years experience, I’ve worked with a lot of people who’ve gone through a divorce. From those years of working day in and day out with hurting people, I’ve gained a lot of insight into the crisis of divorce. I’ve seen the pain and suffering that is inflicted on partners and children. I’ve also witnessed family members and friends who’ve had to stand by helplessly as formerly devoted partners “duke it out” in divorce proceedings.
As a people helper, I’ve always wondered if more could be done to help families who are going through a divorce. Some couples benefit from marriage counseling and, after months of intense and sometimes emotionally draining work, a decision is reached to continue the relationship. At other times, couples recognize that the marriage was a serious mistake from the beginning – maybe they were just too young, or they didn’t know each other well enough. In these cases, couples might benefit from counseling work that focuses on an amicable dissolution of the marriage.
When differences are not reconcilable, and the relationship is deemed irremediable, divorce is imminent. Often, the recognition of this fact, and the decision for the partners to pursue their lives independently, is the only workable solution. When this happens, numerous questions arise that must be addressed.
While, at this point, it is often advisable to consult with a divorce lawyer, the following information, based on California divorce law, may also be helpful to divorcing persons who live in the state of California
California Divorce Law: Residency Requirement
· Is there a residency requirement for those filing for a divorce in California?
Yes. According to California divorce law, the spouse who files for dissolution of the marriage must be a resident of California for six months before filing. The person must also have been a resident for three months in the county where the dissolution of marriage is filed.
Note: Residency periods of the same duration are mandated by California divorce law in the case of couples seeking legal separation.
California Divorce Law: Waiting Periods
· Does California divorce law mandate a waiting period after the dissolution of marriage has been filed?
Yes. In California, there is a mandatory waiting period of six months (after filing) before the dissolution of marriage becomes final.
California Divorce Law: Legal Grounds for Dissolution of Marriage (and Legal Separation)
· What does California divorce law specify as legal grounds for dissolution of a marriage?
In California, divorce law stipulates the following as legal grounds for dissolution of a marriage: “Irreconcilable differences which have caused the irremediable breakdown of the marriage” (Annotated California Code: Section 2310). This applies to a no-fault dissolution of marriage.
Note: A legal ground for a general dissolution of a marriage is incurable insanity.
California Divorce Law: Marriage Counseling Requirement
· Is there a counseling requirement before dissolution of marriage becomes final?
According to California divorce law, if a couple seeks a no-fault dissolution of marriage, and the court perceives a reasonable possibility of reconciliation, a stay of resolution may be issued for a period of 30 days. During this time, a couple will be required to participate in marriage counseling.
After the period is concluded, the court will require a statement from the counselor indicating that the marital breakdown is irremediable before the final dissolution is granted.
For more information about California divorce law, and other topics related to marriage and family counseling, please visit the following links:
About the Author: Dr. John W. Luton
Before joining the mass communication faculty at Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina, Dr. Luton served as pastor of churches in Maryland and North Carolina for almost 20 years. He is a licensed clinical pastoral counselor with the National Christian Counselors Association and he holds the advanced certification.
Dr. Luton is also the primary author of Mastering Pastoral Counseling Utilizing Temperament, a Phase II course that is offered by the NCCA as part of its national licensure program for pastoral counselors. The course is used in many seminaries and counselor training centers throughout the nation to train marriage and family counselors.