Do I have to go to court to get a divorce in California?

Fiddling with Wedding Ring - Considering a Divorce


If you want to get a divorce in California, then you may be wondering if you have to go to court.

The short answer is “no.”

There are several other approaches you can take to getting a divorce that do not involve taking the case to trial.


Couples who want to try and work out the issues without a lawyer can try mediation. It involves an impartial person, the mediator, talking through the issues with the couple, in an attempt to come to an agreement without going to court.

Mediation can cover issues such as property division, custody of the children, or spousal and child support.

If the couple cannot agree on some of the issues, then the divorce case may go to court.

Collaborative Divorce

Another way to get a divorce in California is collaborative divorce. This process involves you, your spouse or partner, and your respective collaborative lawyers negotiating an agreement.

In a collaborative divorce, both parties sign a contract that says they agree not to go to court to get a divorce. In California, if the parties cannot reach an agreement after they sign the contract, then the attorneys must withdraw from the case. The spouses or partners must hire new lawyers to represent them.

If you and your spouse or partner cannot settle the divorce outside of court, then you may have to take your case to trial.

For more legal information about divorce, head over to the Family Law section.

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