How Long Does a Divorce Take in California?

How Long Does a Divorce Take in California?

How Long Does a Divorce Take in California?Working through the challenging decision to start a divorce process can feel overwhelming. With so many details and considerations to navigate and prioritize, it can seem daunting to approach the realities of legal divorce. Many individuals hope to get the divorce process over and completed in a short timeline so they can start over and move on. While this is completely understandable, there are several factors out of an individual’s control when it comes to a divorce timeline.

After coming to the personal conclusion to pursue a divorce, it is necessary to begin the legal process as soon as possible to ensure you are not extending the timeline longer than necessary. While the first steps to divorce may seem obvious, it is helpful to take time to review what is locally required for divorce proceedings and ensure you are prepared. Gathering documents, consulting a divorce attorney, and engaging in personal support from family and friends is a great place to start.

Factors That Influence a Divorce Timeline

The duration of a divorce in California can vary based on several factors, making it challenging to provide an exact timeline as each case is unique with its own set of complexities. There are general aspects to consider when seeking to understand timeline requirements, such as the following:

  • Minimum Waiting Period: California has a mandatory six-month waiting period from the date the divorce petition is served until a divorce can be finalized. The waiting period serves as a time to allow couples an opportunity to reconsider and potentially reconcile. The state understands the gravity and importance of this decision and hopes to offer a proper allowance of time for each individual to fully consider their options.
  • Uncontested Divorce: In the case that both parties agree on the divorce and all surrounding issues, the law considers this uncontested. It is possible for uncontested divorces to finalize shortly after the six-month waiting period is finished. The duration at this point will be dependent on efficiently processed paperwork and court availability.
  • Contested Divorce: Contested divorces imply there are serious disputes and disagreements over the divorce terms. This type of divorce typically requires court intervention, resulting in a longer timeline. The complexities of the issues tend to extend time as well, often relating to property division, child custody, and spousal support.
  • Court Scheduling: Divorce cases may experience a longer than planned timeline due to court dates and court dockets being overfilled or full. Many county courts experience significant caseloads and scheduling constraints due to this.
  • Mediation Time: Mediation and alternate dispute resolution methods can often expedite the process by reaching agreements outside of the need for court assistance. This can significantly reduce the time needed for contested matters.
  • Contentious Issues: Issues such as spousal support and child custody require thorough attention to detail and conversation requiring time. These matters are highly sensitive and deserve thorough consideration by divorcing individuals and the court.
  • Attorney Involvement: Attorney involvement can speed up the processing time as they will efficiently handle the legal aspects of the divorce. The timely completion and submission of required paperwork often directly impacts the overall timeline of divorce processing.

While an uncontested divorce may finalize shortly after the six-month waiting period, contested divorces may take a year or more, depending on the complexities of the issues involved. It is important that individuals going through a divorce in California consult with a family law attorney for guidance tailored to their specific circumstances. Working with an experienced divorce lawyer can make a difference in the efficient handling of your case.

California Divorces: What to Expect When You’re Going Through One


Q: What Is the Waiting Period for Divorce in California?

A: In the state of California, there is a statutory requirement that mandates a six-month waiting period from the date that the divorce petition is served before a divorce can be finalized. The six-month waiting period is intended to allow couples time to reconsider and possibly reconcile. In the case of uncontested or contested divorce, this waiting period applies. The waiting period can only be shortened in exceptional cases such as domestic violence.

Q: Is There a Difference in Processing Times for Contested vs. Uncontested Divorces?

A: Yes, in an uncontested divorce scenario, where both parties agree on all issues, the process will move more quickly. Contested divorces, dependent on the types and levels of disputes requiring court intervention, will generally have a longer processing time that includes litigation. This timeline is completely dependent on the cooperation of all the parties involved. There are several outside factors that impact both contested and uncontested divorces, such as the caseload of judges and courtroom availability.

Q: What Factors Determine Spousal Support in California?

A: Spousal support, also known as alimony, is determined based on factors such as each spouse’s income, the length of the marriage, financial needs, and the standard of living during the marriage. The goal of spousal support is to ensure that the dependent spouse is financially taken care of in the case of divorce, given the means and ability of the supporting spouse. Spousal support can be determined and discussed in both prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.

Q: What Is the Process for Filing for Divorce in California?

A: The divorce process in California will typically involve filing a petition with the court, serving the other spouse, negotiating agreements, attending any court hearings, and finalizing the divorce judgment. The process for each divorce can vary slightly depending on the unique circumstances of each case. It is strongly advised to consult with a family law attorney in the case of divorce to ensure your rights and desires are maintained and upheld legally.

Contact Bickford Blado & Botros

If you are looking to take the steps towards a divorce, or you have questions or concerns about your ongoing divorce case, contact a family law attorney at Bickford Blado & Botros for a consultation today. Our team of trained and experienced divorce lawyers understands the complexity and sensitivity surrounding this time. We are dedicated to approaching your legal circumstance with care and clear guidance.



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