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What are grounds for divorce in California?

When may be surprised when attempting to seek a divorce from your spouse in San Francisco to be asked for the grounds you are using to justify this action. "Grounds for divorce" have typically associated with assigning fault to one party to as marriage for its break-up. Yet you have probably heard that California is a no-fault state when it comes to divorce. Why is it, then, that you need to cite grounds if the state does not care who is at fault regarding the end of your marriage

The confusion over these two topics likely comes from misunderstanding as to the application of their meanings. According to Section 2310 of the California Family Code, the state only recognizes two grounds for divorce: irreconcilable differences or permanent legal incapacity. In defining "permanent legal incapacity," the state classifies is as cases where one has been proven (based off expert testimony) to be permanently incapable of making solutions. "Irreconcilable differences" refer to those scenarios where substantial reasons exist as to why a marriage should not continue. These may include: 

  • Abuse
  • Infidelity 
  • Fundamental philosophical disagreements

If you cite irreconcilable differences as your reason for wanting a divorce, you are saying that no amount of intervention is likely to help you and your spouse overcome your issues. 

Where the "no-fault" philosophy comes into play is in determining the reasons behind your desires to end your marriage. Neither you nor your spouse need to deemed at fault for creating the grounds on which you are now seeking a divorce. Wanting the divorce at all is enough; the reasons behind the breakdown of your marriage (and whose responsible for them) might only be considered in ancillary matters such as the awarding to spousal maintenance or the division of property. 

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