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California is a No-Fault Divorce State. What does that mean?

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Divorce law, like the rest of the legal code, has changed as traditions, cultures, and mores have changed throughout time. Once an at-fault divorce state, now California is a no-fault divorce state.

Traditionally in family law courts during most of recent history, a divorce could not be obtained until one party proved wrongdoing of the other party.

This meant that even if one of the spouses decided they no longer wished to be married, it didn’t necessarily mean that a divorce was possible. Instead, the courts demanded that the aggrieved party prove wrongdoing by their spouse- typically this had to be either adultery, cruelty, abandonment, mental illness, and criminal conviction.

Under the leadership of Ronald Reagan in 1969, California became the first state in the U. S. that allowed no-fault divorce.

Since the advent of no-fault divorce, the only legal reasoning necessary to obtain a divorce in California is for one party to state that there are “irreconcilable differences.” It is never necessary to prove fault to obtain a decree of divorce.

This means that evidence of adultery no longer plays a central law in many family law cases. Instead, the courts divide property and custody of children based on the family code and other various considerations.

Is adultery ever considered in family law cases?

Although no-fault divorce is the law in California, it is possible that the actions of one spouse (including an adulterous relationship) may impact the outcome of the case. To know if this may apply in your situation, you need to talk to an attorney.

You don’t want just any attorney, you want a competent, experienced, family law attorney you can trust. John A. Bledsoe is Orange County’s premier divorce attorney and a certified family law specialist. Our firm offers a confidential initial case evaluation. Call (949) 363-5551 to learn more.

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