Divorce in California is governed by strict guidelines that require anyone filing for dissolution of marriage to be residents of the state for at least six consecutive months. The county of filing is determined by the locations of the past three months of residence. For example, if you have resided in Los Angeles County for the last four months, you will need to file for divorce in this same county rather than in another county, such as Orange County, even if you have located there recently. If you truly wish to file in Orange County, you will need to wait at least three months prior to filing your suit for divorce there. A possible exception to this residency requirement is a tribal marriage, which may be dissolved with a tribal divorce.
California divorce laws adhere to the non-fault standard, which means that a divorce may be granted for any reason. Usually the reasoning stated is termed "irreconcilable differences," although there are times when another reason, namely "incurable insanity," is stated to facilitate the ending of the marriage. For those with short term marriages, five years or less, divorce in California can be a very simple process. Instead of costly trials, and expensive lawyers, if both parties agree to the divorce and if a number of requirements are met, then both parties can apply jointly for a summary judgment which will dissolve the marriage after a mandatory six month waiting period. If children are involved, property issues must be settled, debts need to be shared, and support has to be discussed, then this option will not be available.
Since California is a community property state, California divorce laws require that all marital property, as well as debts, be divided equally among the applicants. This is usually where the negotiation skills of seasoned attorneys will help the parties to leave behind their emotional distress and come up with solutions that work best for those involved. While this most certainly does not imply that each party will receive exactly fifty percent of the property, for example half of the car, it will allow them to negotiate and allocate values, such as the entire car in exchange for the entire country club membership. In California, divorce proceedings that involve minor children are very closely monitored to ensure that the children's healthcare, future education needs, and current living needs are taken care of. California divorce laws are quite strict with respect to child support guidelines.
California divorce provisions also cover such eventualities as spousal support, military divorces, and grandparents' rights. Prior to filing any action it is imperative that you become well-versed in the laws that apply to your individual situations. A qualified divorce attorney will be able to help you navigate this legal maze quickly and easily, although he or she can do very little to overcome the emotional distress you might be experiencing. For the latter there are many support groups available and even psychological counseling for the children if needed.