California Divorce Laws

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The discretionary powers of child custody and separate laws for alimony are two distinct features of the California divorce laws. Like every other state, the fulfillment of residency requirements is crucial for a person to be eligible for a court jurisdiction of a divorce case. A bona-fide residency for six months in California and a stay of at least three months in the county where a divorce case is to be filed, are the necessary requirements for all divorcing spouses.

California Divorce Laws regarding child support

n case of a minor child, both the parents have to share an equal liability of bringing up the child in circumstances that are best suitable to the child. This onus of support is to be borne by the parents till the child becomes nineteen years old or passes out of the 12th grade, whichever happens earlier. If a child of any age is put out of action from earning a living and does not have enough resources to live, then it is responsibility of both parents to an equal extent to support this child to the best of their ability. Sections 4052, 3910, 3901 and 3900 of the California Family Code are dedicated to the issue of child support. Child support amount is to be calculated keeping in mind the income shares model. The model is based on the ratios of the number of children and income of both parents. The court may go beyond these guidelines, if the situation requires so. Usually, the educational and medical requirements of the child are given the top most priority while deciding the amount towards child support.

California Divorce Laws regarding child custody

In this state, there is no presumption or preference against or for sole custody, joint physical custody or joint legal custody. Consequently, the Court has a wide discretion to select the plan which is in the optimum interest of the child. Sections 3040, 3011 and 3010 of the state's Family Code are utilized. All the below mentioned issues are contemplated while making a decision.

  • The continuous or habitual abuse after drinking alcohol by any one parent.
  • The continuous or habitual unlawful use of controlled substance by any one parent.
  • The extent and nature of contact of the child with both parents.
  • The welfare, safety and health of the child.
  • Past record of abuse by any person requesting custody, with
    • A person with whom there exists an engagement or dating relation
    • A cohabitant, current spouse or parent
    • A child with whom there exists a relation by affinity or blood
    • A child with whom there exists a care-taking relation, although temporary

Thus child custody norms in California divorce laws are formed by taking the child's future into account. It may happen that custody is given to a grandparent, if none of the parents are capable for the upbringing of child.

Alteration of name

If a party has not requested for restoration of name in the initial petition, but makes a request for the same during court proceedings, then the Court passes an order to restore the former name or birth name of that party. However, this can happen only in case of proceedings of annulment or dissolution of marriage. In case of legal separation of the partners, this restoration is not practicable.


The issue of alimony is solved using Section 4320 of the state's Family Code. The following points are pondered upon prior to the decision.

  • The intention is that in a reasonable span of time, the supported partner should become self supporting.
  • The hardships that each partner has to undergo must be balanced.
  • The specific and immediate tax consequences that affect each partner.
  • If any domestic violence has taken place between the parties, then it must be proved by documented proof.
  • The health and age of the partners
  • The period of marital life
  • The assets and obligations that each partner has; inclusive of separate property.
  • The standard of life created during the marital life and the needs of each partner to maintain it.
  • The capacity to pay spousal support of the partner, who is liable to offer alimony.

Spousal support is a legal provision that ensures justice to both parties. It tries to solve the financial problems faced by the spouse who is educationally and professionally lagging behind the other spouse. The spousal support order is to be followed strictly by the partner paying alimony.

These are some of the laws through which California state attempts to resolve the issues related to divorce.

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