When the marital relationship is no longer working for a couple, divorce may be the solution. In California, that could be a simple matter of filing a few forms and waiting six months, or it could become extremely complicated, requiring family court mediation and multiple hearings before a judge. As with any situation where emotions are involved, it depends on the partners’ willingness to cooperate.
The cost varies widely, ranging from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars, but expect to spend at least $2,000 if you have children and any property that will need to be divided.
According to the state bar association, there are two basic grounds for a California divorce. One is irreconcilable differences, meaning the arrangement is not acceptable and counseling won’t fix it; and the other is insanity, a rarely used basis for divorce.
Married couples – or domestic partners – with differences that cannot be settled have three options. They can seek:
· Legal separation – used when a couple, possibly for religious or tax purposes, want to stay married, but live separately. A family law judge can divide property, assign Child Custody , order child or spousal support and issue restraining orders.
· Annulment – used when the marriage was not legally valid, making it as if the marriage did not exist. This can happen if a spouse was a minor, was forced or tricked into marriage, or was still married to someone else.
· Dissolution – used when the partners no longer wish to be married or live together. It permanently severs the marital contract. A family law judge settles property, custody, support and other issues just as in a legal separation.