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grounds for divorce in california

While you are considering the implications of a divorce in California, it is vital to review your options and know your rights. A Napa, California divorce lawyer is well-suited to help you navigate the challenging and upsetting times that come with terminating your marriage. The state of California has several guidelines to follow along this process, and an attorney will take time to understand your situation and advocate on behalf of your goals and desired outcome.

Can I Get a Divorce in California if my Spouse Refuses?

If you and your spouse are not on the same page regarding the decision to divorce, you are still able to proceed with a divorce case. When spouses are in major disagreement over the divorce or terms of a divorce settlement, they enter into a contested divorce, which can require legal intervention. Generally, this can look like both parties presenting their case to the judge, and the judge will be responsible for determining the arrangements and terms of the divorce.

While a contested divorce can be a challenge to navigate, an attorney can represent you before the judge and provide legal support, leading to a higher chance of your conditions being met. It has been shown that legal representation can lead to a more favorable outcome in divorce hearings as divorce lawyers are able to maneuver within local law requirements to address their clients’ concerns.

Failure to Respond to a Divorce Petition

A spouse has 30 days to file an official response in the state of California. If a spouse fails to respond to this Petition for Divorce in the 30-day time frame, a default divorce can be issued. A default divorce gives preference and favor to the requesting spouse as the court views failure to respond to this notice as a giving up of their rights in the terms of the legal separation.

If your spouse has failed to respond to a divorce petition, or you have received a divorce petition and have not responded within the correct time frame, it is advisable to seek the counsel of a divorce attorney, as there are options and steps both ways. If you missed the notice by accident or other extenuating circumstances, there is a chance to share this with the court, but quick action is required.

Factors That Can Impact Divorce Costs

The overall cost of a divorce will vary with each unique circumstance. While considering a divorce, it’s important to look at what factors might impact you as you move forward with a separation.

Below are some of these factors:

  • Child Custody: If you and your spouse share children, a divorce can often implicate a child custody claim. Whether you maintain full guardianship of your child or not, child custody cases tend to draw out the divorce process, making the proceedings longer, which, in conjunction, elevates costs. Child support payments may also be required if the court deems this necessary, which will be an added cost and consideration.
  • Contested or Uncontested Divorce: Contested divorces are likely to cost more because these cases, if taken to court and requiring intervention, require intensive legal support and time.
  • Spousal Support: If the court determines spousal support or alimony payments are required, if you are the supporting spouse, you will be required to pay an amount at a cadence determined by the judge.
  • Division of Assets: At the time of divorce, assets will be separated and divided. Depending on legal premarital agreements, you may or may not have made proper arrangements to protect your assets in case of a legal separation. If this is the case, there will be implications for your financial assets.
  • Lawyer Fees: The guidance of a seasoned attorney is advised in divorce cases. Attorneys can have varying fees and payment requests that should be discussed prior to accepting their support.


Q: On What Grounds Can You File for Divorce in California?

A: California is a “no-fault” divorce state, meaning residents can end their marriage due to “irreconcilable difference” with no need to prove fault against their spouse. Another ground for divorce is incurable insanity. Incurable insanity requires one spouse to prove that their spouse is medically insane and there is no cure. To file a divorce in the state of California, both spouses must have physically resided in California for at least six months before filing.

Q: How Long Do You Have to be Separated Before You Can File for Divorce in California?

A: In California, there is no required separation time, but there is an automatic six-month waiting period that begins the day a divorce is filed. It is possible to make a decision for a divorce and file on the same day with no hassle. California is a “no-fault” state, which allows that the reasoning of a divorce does not require proof of abuse or adultery for the request to be accepted.

Q: Can a Spouse Refuse a Divorce in California?

A: In the state of California, the consent of both spouses is not a requirement to follow through with a divorce. There are many instances where one spouse requests a divorce, and the other spouse is not in agreement and refuses to participate and cooperate in the divorce process. While this is distressing and challenging, the refusing spouse’s consent and agreement is not required. This type of divorce is generally called a contested divorce.

Q: What Is the Average Cost of a Divorce in California?

A: The overall cost of a divorce in California can vary greatly depending on the circumstances of your divorce, including child custody, asset division, attorney fees, whether the divorce is contested or not, and more. The average cost of a divorce in California is around $17,500, and the national average is a couple of thousand below this amount.

Contact a California Divorce Lawyer

Considering and filing for a divorce can seem like a daunting and overwhelming prospect that can bring up many questions and concerns. The divorce attorneys at Hayes Family Law can come alongside you in this challenging moment and provide support and guidance. Our team has skilled experience in upholding the goals of our clients in their divorce cases while providing sound and clear guidance along the way.

Contact Hayes Family Law today and learn how our team can support you as you consider and proceed with a divorce.

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