California established its first divorce law in 1851, which stated that the grounds for divorce included impotence, adultery, extreme cruelty, desertion or neglect, habitual intemperance, fraud, and conviction for a felony. During the Gold Rush, California had the highest divorce rates than anywhere else in the world. Women typically filed for divorce since “scarcity afforded them a wide variety of options.”
For many years, California has been known as the Divorce Capitol of the World, but today’s marriage dropout rate is shocking — even by California standards.
According to the 2009 data collected by the US Census Bureau, California divorce rates for men is 8 and 8.9 for women, based on national, regional, and state divorce rates per 1,000 men and women aged 15 and over.
The marriage breakup of former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver along with the divorce of superstar couple Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony are both well-publicized examples of marriages on the rocks.
Most California marriage partners are not famous celebrities, so the explosion of divorces, legal separations, mediations and marriage counseling across the state is not entirely due to public life in a fish bowl.
Divorces are skyrocketing in California among Christian, Jewish and Muslim couples. Senior citizens are divorcing after decades of marriage. Couples who have built successful businesses together are throwing in the towel.