Understanding how divorce happens is important if you think you’re going to need to navigate this process in the near future. There are a number of myths that persist about the basics of divorce in California that might hold you back from filing.
One of those myths is the idea that your spouse has to agree to a divorce filing in order for the courts to dissolve your marriage. Thankfully, that simply isn’t the case.
The state of California won’t force you to stay married
Marriage is deeply personal and intimate, and although California does formalize relationships by recognizing marriages and approve the end of such formal relationships by granting divorces, the state has no interest in micromanaging people’s personal relationships.
California will not force someone to stay married if they want a divorce but their spouse does not. Only one spouse has to consent to the divorce in order for it to proceed.
You don’t need to prove fault or have grounds for a divorce
The idea of a fault-based divorce is rooted in recent history. In many states, there has historically been a requirement to prove some sort of issue, like domestic abuse or abandonment.
Some people hesitate to file for divorce because they think they need to have grounds or that they will need to have evidence of fault in order to get a divorce. California allows for no-fault divorces. You simply need to affirm that your marriage has broken down to a point that renders it unsavable.
You don’t have to agree on the details, but it’s faster if you do
Just like your spouse can’t force you to stay married if you want a divorce, you don’t have to wait to file a divorce until you have an agreement on all the major terms, like how to split your property and child custody. If you can agree to terms, you can probably file for a faster divorce. However, you can also ask the courts to make those major decisions on your behalf.
Once you file, your spouse will have the option to respond, at which point you can strategize accordingly. Getting the right help early in the process will help you avoid mistakes and falling victim to common divorce myths.