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Abused spouses have a divorce solution in California

When it comes to divorce, there is no easy way to start or finish the process. But this is never truer than for a victim of an abusive relationship. Fortunately, California is a no-fault state, and divorce is not necessarily a new visit to old problems.

What does "no-fault state" mean?

This phrase refers to a process that does not require an assignment or admission of guilt in order to go forward. For example, a no-fault rule in car accidents means that a person may file an insurance claim without one party being legally responsible for the crash. In divorce law, it means one spouse can file and sometimes even finalize a divorce without the other spouse's consent.

What if a spouse is abusive toward the spouse who wants a divorce?

It is always a good idea to seek the help that people need when they are suffering abuse before they worry about the legal status of their relationship. This is especially true if children are involved in the abusive environment. This is one situation in which a person may secure a divorce without having to contact the spouse.

What are the options for people who are not U.S. citizens?

Any spouse, child or parent of a citizen who has been assaulted or abused by that citizen may file a "self-petition" under the U.S. Violence Against Women Act. Abuse does not necessarily need to be physical, but it must meet the legal definition of extreme cruelty or danger of severe harm. An attorney can help advise on how circumstances meet these conditions and other details in divorce cases.

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