California Divorce Statistics 2024

By Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP | Jul 14, 2023

A divorce can be a difficult time for the couple that is splitting up. There is a bevy of emotions, from sadness to frustration to anger. Despite more than half of California marriages ending up in divorce, we also find that people can feel a sense of shame at their marriage dissolving. However, that’s not a necessary feeling. When we look at the numbers, we see that divorce affects people across all walks of life. Also, just because one marriage is ending, it doesn’t mean that hope should be lost, as 75% of divorcees end up finding someone else to marry later on.

The Numbers

  • Nearly 90% of all divorces in California were uncontested, which means that both parties agreed to end the divorce through amicable means.
  • About 43% of divorcing couples have minor children, meaning that child custody concerns were a major element of these divorces.
  • Financial stress was cited as the main reason for divorce in about one-third of cases.
  • Money does not solve all problems, though, as 18% of divorced couples have more than $100,000 in income each year.
  • A long-term marriage in California is one that lasts over ten years, but the average years of marriage before divorcing was 8.9 years.
  • For many, though, a divorce does not mean abandoning the idea of marriage, as roughly 75% of divorced people end up remarrying.

Common Reasons for Divorce in California

There are many reasons why divorces happen in California. Some of these include:

  • Marital Infidelity – Although it is possible for a marriage to recover from one spouse cheating on the other, it’s not a common occurrence.
  • Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, or Abuse – Divorce is a way for victims to protect themselves from future harm.
  • Substance Abuse and Addiction – The consequence of addiction and substance abuse can be especially hard on spouses, who eventually may have to leave the marriage as a means of protecting themselves.
  • Financial Stress – Financial difficulties can weigh on a marriage over time, and couples hoping to avoid divorce should attempt to get their financial situations under control.
  • Diminished Commitment – It’s not many people who, on the day of their marriage, lack a commitment to the marriage. However, over time, the challenges of maintaining the marriage can become too much.
  • Regular Fighting and Conflict – At times, the contentiousness of a marriage can become too difficult to deal with.
  • Differing Goals, Values, Priorities, and Lifestyles – People can change over time, and this can mean that, where there was once alignment between a couple, there is no longer any agreement.
  • Inequality in Marriage – Everything from a difference in power and control in a relationship to differences in financial dynamics can threaten the stability of a marriage.
  • Marrying Too Young or Being Too Immature When Marrying – Sometimes, people are unaware of what they are getting into in a marriage, and that can lead to issues that can’t be fixed.


Q: Does California Have at-Fault Divorce?

A: Divorces in California are all no-fault, by law. This means that there is no need to demonstrate that the other party did anything wrong. However, concerning issues like domestic violence, sexual abuse, or child abuse, these things will still have some effect on divorce matters like child custody or spousal support.

Q: How Long Do You Have to Wait to Divorce in California?

A: The length of time for a divorce in California can vary wildly, depending on the particulars of each divorce. The earliest a divorce can be finalized is six months after the papers are served. This leaves the couple time to reconcile, if possible, but it is more likely that they will prepare for the divorce. The preference is that the couple would be able to take that time to reach a divorce agreement on their own. Through mediation or a collaborative process, the two parties can develop an agreement to address things like property division, child custody, child/spousal support, and other important divorce issues. Generally, the less contentious a divorce is, the faster the process will be able to go. One of the things that can help with this is working with a skilled, experienced divorce attorney. They are familiar with potential problems and can help accelerate the process while also protecting your interests.

Q: What Causes Divorce?

A: Divorces occur for a wide variety of reasons. Sometimes, it can be sudden and contentious while, in other cases, it’s a gradual process that leaves divorce as the natural progression of the way that a relationship slowly dissolves. Some of the more common reasons cited for divorce include:

  • Finances
  • Abuse
  • Infidelity
  • Immaturity
  • Lack of commitment
  • Fighting
  • Substance abuse
  • Changing life goals and attitudes
  • Inequality

Q:  How Is Custody Handled in California Divorces?

A: Custody in California is either sole, where one parent has all the custody rights, or joint, where the two parties share custody rights. There are two kinds of custody that can be awarded. Physical custody addresses where the child or children involved will live and when they will have time with each parent. Legal custody addresses the decision-making regarding the child’s upbringing. The court is not required to award the same custody arrangement in both categories. It is very common that, even if one parent is awarded sole physical custody, joint legal custody may still be given to both parents. The court will make its decision on custody based on what it believes to be in the interest of the child.

Reach Out If You Are Facing a Divorce

Divorce can be a challenging process. Despite how common they are, at nearly 60% in California, that doesn’t make them any easier. The decisions made in a divorce can often have an effect on the rest of someone’s life. That’s especially true if there are any kids involved in the situation. If you are about to go through a divorce, then the process can often be made easier by working with a lawyer.

At Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP, we have experience with all kinds of divorce and give our clients an idea of what to expect. We are honest and realistic with our clients, but we also fight to ensure that their interests are protected, whether in negotiation or in court proceedings. If you need a lawyer for your divorce, contact us today.

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