Top Reasons for Divorce in California (2023)

Divorce is a life-altering experience for both spouses involved. After all, no one enters into a marriage with the intent to end it. The process of divorcing can be drawn out, but it is the first step in seeking newfound happiness out of what is potentially a miserable marriage. Whatever the reason for wanting out …

May 12, 2023

Divorce is a life-altering experience for both spouses involved. After all, no one enters into a marriage with the intent to end it. The process of divorcing can be drawn out, but it is the first step in seeking newfound happiness out of what is potentially a miserable marriage. Whatever the reason for wanting out of a marriage, doing so can be difficult because it may leave you feeling alone, stigmatized, or experiencing any other number of emotions. California divorce laws only allow two legal options for getting divorced, but the reasons behind them could be any number of causes.

No-Fault in California

California is considered a no-fault state for divorce, which means that the grounds for divorce do not have to be based on one spouse’s fault. When states recognize at-fault divorces, it can mean that the divorce is granted based on the grounds of adultery, domestic violence, drug or alcohol abuse, imprisonment, or any other type of fault-based behavior.

In California, the spouse who chooses to file does not need to prove any wrongdoing; they just need to file the divorce petition identifying one of the two qualifications for divorce in the state. This could mean that they simply do not want to be married anymore or that they are not getting along with each other any longer. How the divorce is filed needs to fit the legal specifications.

Top Reasons for California Divorce

There are only two specific ways that a couple can file for divorce in California. There need to be either irreconcilable differences or one spouse who suffers from incurable insanity.

  • Irreconcilable Differences: This is the most common reason for divorce in California. This label addresses a broad range of differences that couples experience in marriage. When a marriage finds itself breaking down, the differences can grow beyond repair, leaving the couple with few other options.
  • Incurable Insanity: If one spouse is deemed legally insane, then the other spouse has a legal right to file a petition as long as the insanity was established prior to the petition. The medically diagnosed spouse must remain in that state and be designated incurable. Because of the difficulty of this diagnosis, a psychiatrist and other medical professionals must verify it first.

Whether both spouses agree on the reason for the divorce or actually divorce, it is not necessary for the process to begin. Courts can still grant a divorce regardless of a spousal agreement.

Irreconcilable Differences

Because irreconcilable differences is the most broad terminology, it encompasses the largest variety of reasons couples seek a divorce. Whether couples have tried to fix their marriage or have allowed problems to fester and grow too large, here are the most common reasons couples seek a divorce for irreconcilable differences:

  • Money Disagreements: Finances can create a huge divide in marriages. These can involve a disagreement on how to spend money, animosity because of earning capacities, or making detrimental financial decisions without the knowledge of the other spouse.
  • Infidelity: Monogamy is the generally accepted practice for most marriages. Without agreeing to other forms of marriage, such as open or polyamorous, committing an adulterous act by one spouse can certainly be a marriage-ending decision for the other spouse.
  • Domestic Abuse: Not only is domestic abuse a crime, but it often goes undetected and unspoken. In divorces that move forward with domestic violence as an underlying cause, they will forgo any attempt at mediation or negotiation because forcing one spouse to speak with their abuser could be further traumatic.
  • Time Management Problems: Couples often struggle with their schedules, and they sometimes avoid spending time with each other, have difficulty with childcare, and disagree with how they each spend personal time.
  • Varying Parental Styles: When couples have children, they may avoid serious discussions about how to raise that child, including decisions about education, religion, and more.
  • Interference From Other Relatives: There may be a long-standing assumption that in-laws are difficult, but sometimes one spouse’s friends or family may be interfering with the marriage, causing a breakdown in not only communication but civil relations with each other’s families.

While these are some common reasons for filing for divorce, there are a multitude of difficulties that marriages experience that can lead to irreconcilable differences.

FAQs About Top Reasons for Divorce in California

What’s the Number 1 Reason for Divorce?

According to a national survey, a lack of commitment is the number one reason that a couple will seek divorce. This doesn’t always mean there is infidelity; it simply means that there is an unequal amount of energy put into the marriage. One spouse may be 100% invested while the other is not, which can allow feelings of being taken advantage of or undervalued to fester.

What Are the Divorce Trends in California?

Divorce rates around the nation are falling and have settled around 15 divorces out of every 1000 marriages. However, in California, the numbers are even lower, with only about 7 divorces for every 1000 marriages. California has a history of supporting long marriages because of other factors such as a great job market and stable housing.

Who Initiates Divorce More?

While divorce is not influenced by race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation, trends show that most divorces are initiated by women. Of those who file for divorce, the number of women who file and are college-educated is even greater. For many women, the choice to divorce is because they feel gender roles within the marriage stifle growth outside the marriage.

What Are the Two Major Reasons Cited for Getting a Divorce?

The two most common reasons cited for getting a divorce are a lack of commitment and financial disagreements. Both show that one spouse may not be as invested in the relationship or is driven by personal gain without considering how their decisions impact their spouse. Both require good communication and goal-setting for marital success.

California Divorce Attorney

There are many significant reasons why couples seek divorce. No matter what challenges your marriage may be facing, you should make sure you have a divorce attorney on your side who can help look out for you, your marital rights, and your options if you are seeking a divorce. Contact the Law Offices of Hollie A. Lemkin and get the help of a family law attorney who can customize their services to your needs.

Call today to speak with Hollie A. Lemkin to discuss your questions & issues!


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