5 Things You May Not Know About California Divorce Laws

Are you considering getting a divorce in California?

Before you make any decisions, familiarize yourself with the state’s divorce laws. You may already know some basic information but there are likely a few things that may surprise you. 

Did you know that the divorce rate in California is approximately 60% as of 2023? Divorce can be a challenging process so if you are facing a divorce, the assistance of a skilled lawyer can help you go through the process.

How much a wife is entitled to in a divorce

In this article, we will look into the five key aspects of California divorce laws and answer questions like who can get awarded properties and how much a wife is entitled to in a divorce

Property Division in California Divorce

You might not know how much of your hard-earned stuff your ex-spouse can take in a California divorce. California is a community property state, which means that all assets and debts gained during the marriage are usually split evenly between the two people who are married.

This includes both things that can be seen and touched, like cars and homes, and things that can’t be seen or touched, like retirement accounts and business interests. In most cases, the law still requires an equal distribution of property, even if one partner made more money or contributed more money during the marriage.

This rule doesn’t always apply. For example, if one spouse can show that they got certain assets before they got married or inherited them, that partner can get them back. 

Read also: Separation Self-Care: How to Take Care of Yourself During a Divorce

Spousal Support Laws in California

The rules about spousal support in California can have a big impact on a couple’s earnings after they split up. The court looks at several things to decide how much to pay the spouse. Some of these are how long the marriage has been going, how well the couple has been living, and how much money each person makes. 

California has two types of husband support: short-term and long-term. People who are getting a divorce are temporarily given money to help their partner who makes less money keep up with their costs of living. Support is given for good after the split is over, and it usually lasts a long time. 

To figure out how much and how long to pay partner support, each case is looked at on its own. Spousal care can be changed or stopped when big things happen in a person’s life, like when their income or marriage changes.

Child Custody and Support in California

Child Custody and Support in California

In California, figuring out child support and custody can be hard because both parents want what’s best for their kids.

The best interests of the child come first in California courts when it comes to child custody. They look at things like the child’s age, health, and how they get along with each parent. Joint custody, in which both parents share legal and physical care of the child, is usually the best option unless it’s shown to be bad for the child’s health.

California uses a method to figure out child support. The formula looks at each parent’s income, the amount of time the child spends with each parent, and other things. If your circumstances change a lot, like your income or the child’s needs, you can change how much child support you pay.

Residency Requirements for Divorce in California

When you or your partner file for divorce in California, you must have lived there for at least six months before you file. At least three months must have passed since you last lived in the county where you want to file for divorce.

For those who don’t meet the residency standards, you might have to wait until they are met before starting the divorce process. Talk to an experienced family law attorney to make sure you understand and follow the residency rules so that your divorce doesn’t get held up or become more complicated.

Alternative Dispute Resolution Options in California Divorce

If you want to settle your California divorce more quickly and peacefully, you might want to look into alternative conflict resolution options like mediation or collaborative divorce.

One of these choices lets you and your spouse work together with the help of a third party to decide on important things like child custody, property division, and spousal support. 

A skilled mediator helps you talk to each other and find common ground during mediation. In a collaborative divorce, both people getting a divorce have their lawyer, and there is also a team of professionals, such as financial advisors and kid specialists, who help with the process. 

Compared to going to court, both of these choices can save you time, money, and emotional stress. They encourage people to work together and treat each other with more care, which can be especially helpful if you have kids together.


So now you know some important things about California divorce laws. When going through a divorce in California, understand these laws to guarantee a fair and smooth divorce process. You can also seek professional legal advice to help you with the entire process.

About The Author:

Stacey Smith is a freelance health writer. She is passionate about writing about women’s health, dental health, diabetes, endocrinology, and nutrition and provides in-depth features on the latest in health news for medical clinics and health magazines.

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