What does it mean to file a “no-fault” California divorce?

On Behalf of | Jan 30, 2020 | Divorce |

No-fault divorces have become the modern standard. In fact, all divorces that go through the California courts these days are no-fault divorces, meaning that the state does not determine if either spouse bears responsibility for the end of the marriage. Before a change of law in California, spouses could seek divorce based on grounds, meaning the courts would rule that one person was responsible for the breakdown of the marriage.

No-fault divorces are typically faster and easier, as they do not require one spouse to prove the wrongdoings or misbehavior of the other. When divorce for grounds was more common, individuals would have to document spousal abuse or infidelity in order to convince the courts to award in divorce. These days, either spouse can file for divorce without any kind of evidence by citing irreconcilable differences.

No-fault divorce is not the same as an uncontested divorce

Many people conflate no-fault divorces with uncontested divorces. No-fault divorce simply means that neither spouse receives an adjudication of blame for the divorce. No-fault typically also means that the courts won’t consider wrongful actions by either spouse when determining how to split up the marital estate.

An uncontested divorce in California will also be a no-fault divorce, however, the primary difference is that the spouses filing for divorce having already made an agreement on the specific terms for the end of their marriage. That means they need to work together to split their assets and custody of their children. Every divorce filing California will be a no-fault divorce, but only those who have previously negotiated or mediated there issues can file an uncontested divorce in California.