How long does a California divorce take?

Since Lamar Odom has found himself in the hospital following a drug and alcohol related incident on October 13, news of him and the related Kardashian clan has been spattered everywhere (yes, we didn’t think it was possible, but we are hearing even more about them than we do under usual circumstances). We are happy to hear that Lamar is on the road to a full recovery and sympathize with him and his loved ones as they go through this difficult time. This incident has brought other aspects of his life back into the spotlight, and the relationship between him and Khloe Kardashian had been the focus of much media attention as she has been spending a lot of time with Lamar in the hospital since the entire ordeal began.

You may recall that the couple married in 2009 after knowing each other for only one month. Unfortunately, following several infidelity rumors, alleged drug use, trouble conceiving, and trouble with Lamar’s basketball career, Khloe finally had enough and filed for divorce in December 2013. The final divorce papers were signed by both parties in July of 2015 but apparently the judge has not yet issued a divorce judgment in their case. (we discussed the chance that the judge was considering dismissing the case altogether because the parties were taking so long to take action, in our blog titled “Permissive Dismissal for Failure to Prosecute”)This has been a huge revelation, seeing as the divorce hasn’t finalized and it is reported that she remains his next of kin, thus being responsible for making life-and-death medical decisions on his behalf.

It has now been almost two years since Khloe filed for divorce, a final divorce decree still hasn’t been issued, and Khloe has called off the divorce for the time being. While we are not privy to the reasons why their case is taking so long to finalize, and although we have blogged in the past about the length of time it takes to get a divorce, (See 2013 blogs- “San Diego Divorce Timeline – What You Can Do to Speed it Up (Part 1)” and “The 17-Year Divorce Case”), we found this to be a good time and opportunity to revisit the subject. Many of those reading may be currently engaged in the divorce process or considering filing for divorce are likely curious to know what to expect. Although we wish that we could give you a clear answer, this is unfortunately an impossible thing to predict, as the time it will take for your divorce to finalize is dependent upon a number of different factors, as explained in those past blog entries.

Ultimately, the shortest possible time that a divorce case will last is 6 months. This clock starts ticking as soon as the divorce papers are served on your spouse. However, for most divorcing couples, it is probably unrealistic to expect that your divorce will be done and over within 6 months. While most people who file for divorce hope to get it over with as soon as possible, it is completely dependent on a number of factors, with the biggest probably being cooperation of the parties. The more things that the parties disagree on, the more time it will take, especially in light of the current court backlog.

If you are in a rush to terminate your marital status, but are faced with a case where agreement on all issues is not possible, bifurcation may be a good option for you. Bifurcation essentially means that your case is split into two components. The first component is your marital status itself, and the second component consists of all the remaining issues (whether those are property, child custody, support, etc.). There is a chance that you may be able to terminate your marital status within 6 months, but then it remains unknown how long it may take for all the remaining issues to be resolved.

The attorney you hire to represent you in your divorce can also impact the time it takes for your divorce to be finalized. Our attorneys are dedicated to minimizing conflict and encouraging settlement between parties. Of course there are always exceptions and cases where this approach is not realistic, but we have found that the settlement process saves our clients a lot of time and money, and ultimately leaves the parties happier with the results than they would be if a judge was making decisions about their case for them.

Please contact us if you are considering a divorce from your spouse, a legal separation, or have questions regarding child custody and visitation. Nancy J. Bickford is the only lawyer in San Diego County representing clients in divorces, who is a Certified Family Law Specialist (CFLS) and who is actively licensed as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Don’t settle for less when determining your rights. Call 858-793-8884 in Del Mar, Carmel Valley, North County or San Diego.

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