For married people to get a divorce in California, one of the two situations must apply:
NOTE:If you want a divorce, but do not meet residence requirements yet, you can file for a legal separation, and then amend the petition to ask for divorce once you meet the requirements.
Most couples end their marriage or domestic partnership by getting it legally dissolved. This is called getting a divorce.
Sometimes, people don't want to get divorced, but they want to live apart and make their own decisions about money, property and parenting issues.
Rarely, a court will rule that a marriage or domestic partnership is not legally valid. A marriage or domestic partnership that involves incest, for example, is never valid. Other marriages or domestic partnerships can be declared "void" because of force, fraud, mental incapacity, or because one of the spouses or partners was too young to legally marry or register a domestic partnership.
The only two grounds for divorce in California are:
Normally, people just give "irreconcilable differences" as their reason for wanting a divorce. They don't have to prove anything. There is no "guilty" or "non-guilty" person, from the court's point of view. Sometimes you will hear this referred to as a "no fault" divorce. This means that you can get a divorce without having to prove that someone did something wrong or is "at fault" for the divorce. The only thing the court is interested in is helping the separating spouses or partners reach a fair agreement about how their life will change after the divorce so they can move ahead to rebuild their lives.