When a marriage fails, the spouses, as perhaps their friends and family members, often try to blame one spouse or the other for the divorce. It is easy to assign blame for a divorce, particularly if one spouse has been unfaithful or has an addiction or has been abusive in some way. However, no matter how bad a spouse’s behavior has been, California is a no-fault divorce state. This means that what a spouse has done during your marriage is largely irrelevant when it comes to divorce. For this reason, evidence showing that a spouse had an affair is essentially inadmissible in divorce proceedings.
Under California’s no-fault divorce laws, the only grounds for divorce are irreconcilable differences, which is the no-fault ground, or a spouse’s permanent legal incapacity, which is a very rare situation. A no-fault divorce means that a judge cannot look at fault as a factor in dividing property and debts. However, there are some situations where some evidence of fault may be relevant to a divorce case.
For instance, if a spouse was abusive in some way during the marriage, evidence of past abuse could be relevant in determining the best custody and visitation arrangements for your minor child. If a spouse intentionally is earning less than he or she could, evidence of this fact could be useful in making spousal support orders or calculating child support orders. If a spouse has a gambling addiction, and gambled away much of the marital assets, this could be a factor in determining the allocation of property and debt. In these situations, at least, evidence of bad behavior by a spouse can be useful.
No matter whether it is you or your spouse who is seeking a divorce, we will set forth your options and help you make the decisions that best meet your objectives and needs. The Law Offices of Vincent W. Davis & Associates have handled countless divorce cases throughout the years. Do not hesitate to contact an experienced California divorce attorney at our office if you have any questions about divorce or any other family law-related matters in the state of California.