History of Divorce in California

Attitudes to divorce have varied over time. In some cultures, divorce has been accepted as normal; in others it has been hidden for religious reasons, legal reasons, or both. Today divorce is very common in the industrialized world, although in a few nations it remains illegal. In the United States, nearly half of all marriages end in divorce.

Divorce was very common in California's early days. After the Gold Rush, the population of California was overwhelmingly composed of young men. The relatively low number of women meant that divorce was much more common and accepted than in most of the United States at the time, with the divorce papers almost always filed by women.

As the state grow and the gender balance evened out, opinions on divorce changed something to resemble those in other states. California's first dispute law was passed in 1851 and listed a number of grounds for divorce, including adultery, cruelty, neglect, and felony conviction. Over time, the number of options increased and the scope of the definitions expanded.

Adultery is still one of the most common reasons given for divorce. In some places adultery is a crime, including 22 states. At one time, the California penal code made adultery illegal. Those laws have since been declared unconventional and removed. Although no longer legal, adultery is still very serious and commonly leads to the collapse of marriages.

Over time, divorce has become more and more common around the country. There are many reasons given for this, but some of the more broadly accepted include the greater availability of divorce and improvements in gender equality. Today it is far more common for women to work than in the past, making them much less dependent on working husbands for support. This has given both men and women more freedom to file for divorce than before.

Until the late 60s and early 70s, every divorce in the United States required naming one party as at fault. Around that time, however, California became one of the first states to enact a no-fault divorce law, which allows both spouses to file for divorce without putting one of them at fault. Where previously there needed to be accusations of adultery or negligence, these new laws allowed spouses to divorce due to "irreconcilable differences."

If you are considering a divorce, there are many options available to you and many decisions to make. The experienced Oceanside divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel can help you form a plan for making your divorce as stress-free as possible. A skilled divorce lawyer can do more than explain the law to you: they can also help you decide how to divide property and help you create a child customs plan. Contact the lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel today to learn how they can help you.

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Joseph Devine

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