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What are the Grounds for Divorce in California?

Seeking a Divorce

Marriage, unfortunately, does not always work out the way one would expect. Whether the relationship simply does not work or whether one spouse cheated on the other, people filing for divorce think of various reasons for why they are seeking this solution. California law, however, does not allow for filers to choose any reason they want to for their divorce. Here is what you should keep in mind.

“No-Fault” State

California is a no-fault state when it comes to divorce. This means that anyone filing for divorce cannot mark factors such as infidelity, cruelty, or abandonment as the reason for the dissolution of the marriage (although such factors may contribute to irreconcilable differences). California family code allows for two grounds for seeking a divorce: irreconcilable differences or permanent legal incapacity.

Irreconcilable Differences

California family code defines irreconcilable differences as “grounds which as determined by the court to be substantial reasons for not continuing the marriage and which make it appear that the marriage should be dissolved.” In layman’s terms, differences between a married couple have become so stark that the marriage itself is permanently and irreparably damaged.

Determining exactly what these differences are, however, is difficult. This definition is very general, leading to questions about how to apply this specifically. Often the California court will accept that there are reasons for seeking dissolution without diving into exactly what those reasons are and why one party believes the marriage is irreparable.

Permanent Legal Incapacity

This ground for divorce is rarely used although available. Permanent legal incapacity means that one spouse is unable to make any type of legal decision on their own. Filing for divorce on this basis, however, comes with a high burden of proof.

Proving legal incapacity is difficult because of the necessity of the opinion of a medical or psychiatric expert to state that the party is unable to make legal decisions on their own. Because of this high burden of proof, more people seek divorces based on irreconcilable differences, to which legal incapacity could contribute.

Hiring a California Divorce Attorney

Divorce for whatever reason can be scary, difficult, and overwhelming. We understand that you may be feeling a full range of emotions; however, know that you do not have to go through your divorce alone. Having proper legal representation by your side can make the process smoother and relieve stress along the way. With our team of skilled attorneys standing by, Feinberg & Waller, APC is ready to help you with your case.


Contact Feinberg & Waller, APC today by calling (844) 252-1140 or visiting us online and requesting a consultation.

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