In 1969, California Governor Ronald Reagan signed the country’s first no-fault divorce law. Before that time, judges could only grant divorces based on marital fault, such as adultery, abandonment, or cruelty. The new law legalized divorce based on “irreconcilable differences,” which basically means that the marriage has broken down but neither spouse was to blame. Over the next ten or fifteen years, most all other states passed their own no-fault laws, and the divorce rate rose exponentially during the 1970s and 1980s. In the 1990s, the divorce rate began leveling off. Although it has actually declined recently, the divorce rate Continue Reading
Every divorce is different, but many divorce cases are essentially bookend cases. There is a flurry of activity shortly after the petition is filed, a relatively long period of little activity, and another flurry of activity near the end. About two weeks into the case, most judges hold temporary hearings to make interim decisions about custody, visitation, and support. Since stability is one of the factors in California’s best interests test, the party that wins custody at this stage is likely to keep it when the case is over, absent compelling evidence to the contrary. As the old saying goes, possession is nine-tenths of the law, and this saying usually applies in these cases.