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California Divorce Legislation

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By StraightDivorce Staff on 4/13/2008

It was three years after former Governor Edmund Brown urged the reforming of California’s fault-based divorce law, that Governor Ronald Reagan signed the Family Law Act of 1969 into law, making California the first no-fault divorce state in the nation. It was actually on September 5, 1969 when governor Ronald Reagan changed marriage and divorce in America forever. Since that historic reform, every state in the United States has enacted some form of no-fault divorce.

Divorce Legislation More Liberal in the West

Divorce legislation has always been more liberal in the West compared with other parts of the country. In fact, California’s first divorce law was created in 1851, stating grounds for divorce as impotence, adultery, extreme cruelty, desertion, habitual intemperance, fraud and conviction of a felony. However, while the divorce laws are a little less stringent, if a person moves to the state of California and decides they want a divorce, according to California law, both spouses must be a resident of California for at least six months before being eligible to apply for divorce. And while some states such as Texas, do not recognize marital separation, in California, one can apply for a Marital Separation Agreement prior to going through the divorce process.

What is a Marital Separation Agreement in California?

A Marital Separation Agreement is a written agreement between two parties stating details about the ending of a marriage relationship. With a separation agreement, there is less chance for misinterpretation when the divorce actually takes place. It also provides additional evidence to the court that the relationship ended on a particular date. Even though California is a no fault divorce state, as with any other state, parties need to explain the reason for ending the marriage. California Divorce Law recognizes two primary reasons for divorce, which are incurable insanity and irreconcilable differences. For incurable insanity, the parties need medical proof of this being true. For irreconcilable differences, under California Divorce Law, if the court doesn’t feel that there are reasonable grounds, a petition for divorce could be rejected.

Child Custody Legislation

Changes in California legislation take place so as to create change that involves parents, lawyers, and judges regarding parental involvement after divorce. Based on the fact that more than one million children are involved in a divorce situation each year, a law was passed in 1979 permitting joint custody as a viable option. It was then that the first joint custody statute was passed in California, followed by Kansas and Oregon. By the late 1980’s joint legal custody had become normal in California, appearing in 75% to 90% of decrees. By 1991, more than 40 states had passed parenting statutes where joint custody was either an option or a preference.

California Legislation Often Changes

Because California divorce legislation often changes, if you are considering filing for divorce, it is always best to have the latest and most accurate information available, which can be obtained by speaking with a credible divorce attorney.

About the Divorce Attorneys at Straight Divorce

When dealing with family law and divorce issues, a divorce attorney can help make the transition a little smoother. Making the divorce process as simple as possible, the divorce lawyers at Straight Divorce are available for consultation by filling out the free divorce case review or by calling us at 1 (877) 420-6657.

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