Mediation and California "No Fault" Divorce
What is a "No-Fault Divorce"?
California, like nearly all states, is a "no-fault divorce" state. Put simply, a no-fault divorce occurs where a spouse seeking a divorce does not have to prove any degree of wrongdoing by the other spouse when obtaining the divorce. Bad acts such as infidelity will have no bearing on the ultimate disposition of property.
The primary grounds for divorce in California is irreconcilable differences. While there are other grounds for divorce, such as fraud or incurable insanity, these are uncommon and rarely asserted.
Does spousal misconduct matter at all?
As discussed above, spousal misconduct does not factor into the divorce itself. However, varying degrees of misconduct may affect issues incident to the divorce. Such issues include spousal support, child custody and even distribution of community assets.
For example, when a court is making a custody decision, they must consider evidence of domestic violence when making an order. Domestic violence factors into a determination of spousal support as well. Family Code 4320 specifically provides for documented evidence of any history of domestic violence to be a factor used by the courts in making a spousal support order.
Also, California law holds the spousal "fiduciary duty" in high regard. Spouses have a duty of full disclosure to the other spouse of all material facts regarding community assets. Any spouse that hides or transfers assets during a divorce breaches their spousal fiduciary duty. This can result in stiff penalties, including an award of an entire piece of property.
Though fault is not a factor when seeking a divorce, spousal misconduct will often affect vital issues involved with the divorce.
When it comes to mediating a divorce, fault is not an area of focus. Rather, determining a mutually beneficial result is of paramount importance. Mediating your divorce is an effective and cost savings method of moving on with your life. It can be accomplished, in most cases, in one mediation session! Contact OC Dispute Resolution Services to schedule your mediation today!