5 Laws You Should Know if You Live in California
Every state has unique laws and regulations that must be followed, and as the most populous state in the country, California has plenty of unique laws of its own. Here are some laws California residents should know:
- California is a no-fault divorce state. In a no-fault divorce, state, one spouse does not have to prove the other did anything wrong in order to get a divorce. Rather. married couples can simply cite “irreconcilable differences” as the reason for their divorce. This also means that one spouse cannot hold up the process by refusing to participate; as long as the spouse seeking the divorce files the necessary documents with the court and has the documents served on the other spouse, the divorce can proceed.
- California divorces take at least six months. When someone decides to seek a divorce, they typically want the process to be resolved as quickly as possible—especially if it’s an issue of infidelity, fraud, or domestic violence. However, there is a mandatory waiting period of 6 months before a California divorce can be finalized. Depending on the assets involved and custody considerations, the divorce process could take much longer than 6 months, but it cannot take less than that.
- California has special overtime laws. Federal law requires employers to pay employees overtime pay after working 40 hours in a work week, but California goes a step further. California employers must pay an employee time-and-a-half after he or she works 8 hours in a day, and employees are entitled to double overtime after working 12 hours in one day. There is also an “overtime premium” requirement for workers who are required to work 7 consecutive days. California is currently the only state in the country with a double overtime requirement.
- California drivers can use hands-free devices while driving (under certain circumstances). California law previously prohibited using a cell phone to write, send, or read texts while driving. However, an amendment to the Vehicle Code now allows drivers to listen to text messages and respond while driving, so long as it is voice-operated and hands-free.
- Californians can get a restraining order day or night. In situations of domestic violence, a California resident can obtain an Emergency Protective Order to protect him or herself. However, it is important to note that only law enforcement can ask for an Emergency Protective Order. Typically, a police officer responding to a domestic violence incident can call a judge to ask for an Emergency Protective Order, which starts immediately and lasts up to one week. Depending on the situation, the order can include a “kick-out order,” which forces the abuser to leave the home and stay away from the victim and any children for up to 7 days. This week-long period gives the victim enough time to obtain a temporary restraining order.