The Truth Behind Common California Divorce Myths


The Truth Behind Common California Divorce Myths


A divorce can be a difficult, emotional process for the entire family, especially if young children are involved. If you’re a resident of Monterey or the Central Coast who is planning to file for divorce, it’s important to make sure you know the truth about divorces. Even though an average of 876,000 divorces are filed each year, many people still believe common divorce myths.

Going through a divorce isn’t always easy. Don’t let misinformation about the California divorce process ruin your chances of getting your requested divorce settlement. After all, one of the main goals of a divorce is ensuring you have the financial security you need to restart your life.

When going through a divorce, it’s common for both parties to get advice from their lawyers. However, it’s also common for both parties to spread their lawyer’s advice to their friends and family. These people in turn continue to spread the legal advice and before too long, there’s a lot of unintentional misinformation circulating about divorces. Unfortunately, if you are guided by incorrect information when you file for divorce, you could end up making a costly mistake.

To make sure your divorce goes as smoothly as possible, it’s vital that you know all the important facts about divorces. Learn the truth behind these common California divorce myths to make the best informed decisions possible.

MYTH #1: Divorces Are Finalized 6 Months After Being Filed

FACT: Getting a divorce can take time, especially if both parties are unable to cooperate. In reality, the earliest a divorce can be finalized is six months after the divorce petition has been filed by one spouse and served to the other spouse.

Keep in mind that divorce verdicts are not automatically taken care of. You will need to make sure that all family law state and legal procedures are completed before the entry is made. This doesn’t mean you can’t get divorced quickly, it simply means you will not be legally divorced until six months have past and your judge has signed the divorce ruling.

MYTH #2: If A Couple Is Considered Married If They’ve Lived Together For 6 Years

FACT: The state of California does not recognize “common law” marriages. If you want to obtain the rights of a married person, you need to be legally married or have a valid state registered Domestic Partnership. It doesn’t matter how many years you have been living with your partner, if you don’t meet the legal specifications mentioned, you can’t have the legal rights of a married person. This includes entitlement to spousal support.

There is one exception to this. California will recognize a common law marriage if the following requirements are met:

  • The couple has previously lived in another state that recognizes common law marriages.
  • While living in that state, the couple met the state’s requirements of a common law marriage.
  • The couple moved to California

Only if you meet all of the above requirements will California recognize your common law marriage as a legal marriage, giving you entitlement to spousal support.

MYTH #3: The Best Option For Every Divorcing Couple Is Mediation

FACT: Mediation is when you and your spouse meet with a neutral third party, such as a divorce lawyer, who will act as a mediator to help resolve issues and make fair compromises. The goal of meditation is to help finalize the divorce as smoothly and as cost effectively as possible.

However, mediation is only possible if both parties are willing to cooperate. If one spouse has a history of anger management issues, drug and alcohol abuse, and/or domestic violence, the couple's best option wouldn’t be mediation. It's important that you discuss the specific issues of your divorce with your lawyer. This will allow your divorce lawyer to choose the best options for your specific case.

MYTH #4: You Can Deny Visitation If Your Spouse Fails To Pay Child Support On Time

FACT: In the eyes of the California Courts, visitation and child support are two separate issues. You cannot legally deny your ex-spouse access to their children if they are behind on child support payments.

This doesn't mean that you or your spouse can get away with not giving the primary parent child support. There is a process designed to enforce all child support orders are followed. Make sure you speak with your divorce lawyer to know what your options are if your ex-spouse continues to fail to make child support payments on time.

MYTH #5: Spouses Who Cheat Lose Everything

FACT: There is a common misconception that if you cheat on your partner, you could lose everything when you get divorced. However, this isn’t true. You will not face harsh limitations on how much time you can spend with your children or a less generous settlement if you have committed adultery.

In fact, California is a no fault divorce state. This means you do not even need to have a reason to get divorced. The reason you and your partner wish to end your marriage will not impact your divorce case. The only exception to this is if your partner has committed domestic violence.


DISCLAIMER: The materials available at this web site are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this Web site or any of the e-mail links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between Law Office of Barbara J. May and the user or browser. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.

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