Though divorce is one of the most stressful events that a person can go through, it remains relatively common in the state of California. Hundreds of couples divorce annually.

There are many common misconceptions about divorce. Though every couple’s situation is different, there are some supported and researched facts about the divorce process. Whether you are getting divorced or know someone who is, it’s important to know the up-to-date facts about divorce. This can help to simplify the process and allow things to progress as smoothly as possible.

Not Everyone Is Eligible

What many couples do not realize is that they may not be eligible for divorce in the state of California. To file for divorce here, you or your spouse must have lived in California for at least six months. Some counties also require a minimum residence time.

If you don’t fit these requirements, you cannot file in California. You will either have to file in a different state or wait until the criteria are met.

California Divorce Facts

You Do Not Need a Reason

Some states are fault states when it comes to divorce. In these scenarios, you have to list why your marriage is ending. Many people are relieved to know that California is a no-fault state regarding divorce. So, your personal reasons for ending your marriage may remain private.

You Will Be the Petitioner or Respondent

Either you or your spouse will formally file for divorce. Whoever files is the petitioner, and the other person is the respondent. The petitioner must serve the papers to the respondent to ensure that the correct person has received the necessary information about the divorce. The respondent has 30 days if they wish to respond to the petitioner. Otherwise, the divorce will proceed with the petitioner’s initial terms.

You Must Disclose Assets

You must disclose all assets that you have, including:

  • Property.
  • Bank accounts.
  • Cars/vehicles.
  • Stocks and bonds.
  • Valuable items.

These will need to be divided evenly between you and your spouse during your divorce. If you don’t disclose all your assets, it slows the process down, and you could get into significant trouble for hiding assets.

Your Divorce Will Take Time

Even if you and your spouse agree on the divorce terms, the process will take at least six months to complete. This is the amount of time mandated by the state of California to make sure that you are certain about your divorce before you are granted one. The six months act as a kind of “cooling off” period.

It’s important to remember that you do not have to live with your spouse during this time or act as a married couple, just that the divorce will take six months to become official.

Mediation Is an Option

Many people don’t realize that mediation is an option for divorce. Through this system, the couple does not have their own individual lawyers but meets with a mediator to decide the terms of the divorce. As a result, the process is usually much less stressful, and it costs far less than a traditional divorce.

Mediation is not for everyone. Some couples have difficulty communicating, and mediation only highlights that fact. Mediation is often best for couples who split amicably and who can work through logistical choices together.

Social Media Can Be Dangerous

If you’re getting divorced, limiting your social media use is essential. Even the most seemingly innocent posts and activities can be used against you. For example, if you’re out with friends, your spouse’s attorney may claim that you are a partyer and unfit to share child custody. Though most of these claims are not true, they can put you in a demanding situation.

It’s best to refrain from social media during your divorce. Opt to spend time with friends and family in person instead.


Q: How Long Do You Have to Be Married to Get Half of Everything in California?

A: There’s no set standard for how long you must have been married to be entitled to a settlement. Usually, both members of a couple get something during the divorce. However, if you’re married for less than 10 years, you will likely only receive alimony that is equal to half of the amount of time that you’ve been married. So, for example, if you were married for eight years, you’re likely to get four years of spousal support.

Q: What Is a Wife Entitled to in a Divorce in California?

A: It’s important to understand that your gender or role in the relationship does not guarantee anything specific. In many cases, both members of a marriage get a fair portion of the assets and spousal support and child custody as the court sees fit. Also, the wife does not automatically get anything for being the wife; it’s all based on the unique situation at hand.

Q: How Many Years Do You Have to Be Married to Get Spousal Support in California?

A: There is no set amount of time that you must be married to qualify for spousal support. The court will look at your unique circumstances and decide if spousal support is appropriate or not. For those who have been married for 10 years or less, the support usually only lasts half the length of their marriage.

Q: Does the Mom Always Get Custody in a Divorce?

A: There is a common misconception that the mother always gets child custody in a divorce, but this is not true. The court does not favor the gender of either parent involved. Instead, the court looks at each parent’s emotional stability, financial support, and housing situation. Ideally, both parents will be involved with their kids if they are healthy and capable. If it’s possible to split custody, the court usually opts for that option.

Contact the Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers

Our firm offers litigation and mediation services for couples seeking a divorce in California. No matter your situation, we can help you navigate the divorce process and answer all your questions along the way.

For more information, contact the Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers today.