It was recently reported that Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odem finally submitted their divorce judgment for processing with the Court. I say finally because the case was first filed in December 2013. It was stagnate for nearly two years while Lamar allegedly battled substance abuse issues. When Lamar nearly died in October 2015, Khloe dismissed the divorce, only to re-file in May 2016. The years long saga is now over, but that does not mean the parties’ divorce case is over. The Court still needs to process the Judgment, and there is no way to know how long that will take.
Every completed divorce case eventually results in a Judgment of Dissolution. The Judgment is either result of a settlement reached by the parties or following a trial in their case. Once the Judgment has been signed and approved by the parties and their attorneys, everything is sent to the Court to process.
Five years ago we felt confident telling parties it would take 45 to 60 days to get their Judgment back from Court. Recently, the time between the day a Judgment is delivered to court and the day it is processed has increased dramatically. Nowadays, we advise most clients that their judgment will not be processed for at least 4 months, but we also prepare them to wait up to 6 or 7 months before they receive the filed Judgment back from Court.
This is not to say a Judgment cannot be processed faster. In fact we had a Judgment recently that was submitted and returned in the span of 6 calendar days. This is the exception and not the rule.
Some parties do not care how long it takes to get their Judgment back from Court so they are content waiting, but for most parties they want the Judgment back sooner rather than later.
There are many reasons parties will want their divorce Judgment entered as soon as possible. One party may want to get remarried, there may be assets that are at risk of losing value (like stock options) and one party wants to sell them quickly, or there could be a more personal reason to have the Judgment entered quickly.
Without a doubt, the most common reason a party wants their divorce Judgment processed quickly is taxes. So long as your marriage is dissolved before 11:59 pm on December 31st, you are eligible to file as “single” on your tax return for that year. The alternative is filing “married separate” which is often more costly.
Whatever your reason, there is a way to get you Judgment to the top of the list. If you can provide the Court with a valid legal or financial reason why your Judgment should be processed before all other Judgments, you can appear ex parte to make the request. As an example, one of our clients had a provision in their Judgment that was triggered by the “entry of Judgment.” (i.e. the date the Court’s processed the Judgment.) It was an important provision that significantly impacted the client financially. We contacted the Court and were told it would take at least 5 months to process the Judgment. Based on this information, we appeared ex parte for our client and the Court processed the Judgment that day.
Even if you do not have a legal or financial reason to have your Judgment processed early, you are not without options. Every year in December, the Family Court holds “Judgment Days” where anyone can appear ex parte to have their Judgment processed right away. The dates are scheduled in December to allow all parties the opportunity to have the Judgment entered before the December 31st deadline. The following are the 2016 Judgement Days for San Diego County, by judge and by location:
- White (F1) – December 16th
- Camarena (F2) – December 9th
- Rosenstein (F4) – December 7th
- Guerrero (F6)- December 15th
- Davis (F9) – December 13th
- Berry (Dept. 45) December 9th and December 16th
- Judgment Day for ALL courts in San Diego County with Hallahan (F5): December 28th and 29th, 2016
- Amador (ED5) – December 19th
- Epley (ED6) – December 14th
- Gross (ED7) – December 9th
- Atkins (SB4) – December 12th
- Harutunian (SB6) – December 13th
- Hernandez (SB17) – December 8th
- Wood (Dept. 15) – December 19th
- Weinreb (Dept. 16) – December 13
- Parker (Dept. 17) – December 15th
- Washington (Dept. 18) – December 12th
- Ratekin – (Dept. 19) December 6th
Feel free to contact us if you are considering a divorce from your spouse, a legal separation, or have questions regarding how the court processes Judgments. Nancy J. Bickford is the only Certified Family Law Specialist (CFLS) in San Diego County who is also a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with a Master of Business Administration (MBA). Don’t settle for less when determining your rights. Call 858-793-8884 in Del Mar, Carmel Valley, North County or San Diego.