You have probably heard through advertising or news stories that California is a “no-fault” state when it comes to divorce. It is for this very reason why so many that we here at Butler, Thiessen & Metzinger, Inc. work with in Stockton express surprise when asked what their grounds for divorce are. At first glance, you too might also question why you need to cite grounds for divorce in a no-fault scenario. However, a quick explanation as to how these two concepts fit together might clear up your confusion.
The no-fault concept means that neither you nor your spouse need be recognized at being at fault for the deterioration of your marriage. This is where the idea of irreconcilable differences comes in. One (or both) of you simply needs to show that your relationship is irretrievably broken and that no amount of outside interventions (e.g., marriage counseling) will fix it.
Irreconcilable differences are actually listed as one of the two grounds for divorce that Section 2310 of the California Family Code shows that state law views as legitimate (the other being the permanent legal incapacity of one spouse). This reaffirms that there needs to be a reason given for your decision to get a divorce; you simply do not need to assign blame to either you or your spouse for arriving at that conclusion.
This is not to say that fault has no bearing on divorce proceedings; you or your spouse’s actions could be seen as having directly contributed to the breakdown of your marriage. While those actions are not necessarily needed to seek a divorce, they could come into play when considering matters such as spousal support or property division.
You can learn more about the guidelines governing divorce proceedings by continuing to explore our site.