Looking for California’s rules on marriage, divorce, child custody, and child support? Want to find California’s state court forms and instructions and local court websites? Here’s where to start. For a wide range of other articles on family law in California, see the Resources by State section on this site.
Requirements: No blood test required. You must be of the age of consent, not be too closely related to your intended spouse, not be married to anyone else, and have sufficient mental capacity, meaning you understand what you are doing when you marry. You can marry immediately after your marriage license is issued, and your license is good for 90 days. For more details, check your county clerk’s office.
Common law marriage: No.
Community property: Yes.
Same-sex marriage: No. However, same-sex couples who married between June and November of 2008 are still married. Also, same-sex couples can register as domestic partners with all of the rights and responsibilities of marriage under state law.
Grounds for divorce: No-fault. However, fault may be considered by the court as a factor in dividing property or awarding alimony.
Residency requirement: At least one spouse must be a resident of California for six months before filing for divorce.
How property is divided: Community property.
Child custody guidelines: California courts begin with a presumption that it’s best for a child to have frequent and continuing contact with both parents after a divorce. If possible, judges want to support joint custody arrangements.
Child support guidelines: California requires all parents to support their children. The amount of child support depends primarily on each parent’s income and other resources and how much time each parent spends with the children.
Child support calculators to determine California state guidelines: www.alllaw.com/calculators/childsupport/california.
State child support enforcement agency: Department of Child Support Services, www.childsup.ca.gov.
California state court information and family law forms: www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-family.htm.
Family services section of California’s state website: www.ca.gov/HomeFamily/Marriage.