How Long Does it Take to get Divorced?
Like the answer to any complicated legal issue, the answer to this question depends on the facts of each separate divorce. However, fortunately, there are fewer time restraints on getting a divorce in California than there are in many other states.
Residency and Initial Filing
First, in order to file for divorce in California, at least one of the spouses needs to have been a California resident for at least six months. Once this prerequisite is met, then that spouse can file for divorce. It is not enough for a spouse to file a petition; he or she will also need to serve it upon the other spouse. Once the other spouse has received service of the divorce petition, the clock actually begins ticking. From the date of service of the petition on your spouse, California requires at least a six-month waiting period for a divorce decree to be entered. It is very important to stress that the six-month timeframe begins when the other spouse receives the papers and not when the petition is initially filed in court.
Spouse Response Time
The spouse who has the papers served on him or her has 30 days to respond to the petition. However, you are able to waive this timeframe and permit more time if you want, and the judge will look unfavorably upon you if your spouse asks for more time and you do not allow it. Even if you allow your spouse to take an extra couple of weeks, this should not, by itself, push the overall timeframe back.
If the divorce is a mutual split, then you and your future ex-spouse may already have an idea of how the assets and debts should be split up, and it may just be a matter of getting a lawyer to draft the paperwork and making sure the agreement is watertight. Alternately, during this mandatory waiting period, both of you can work out the details of your divorce agreement. As long as you have the divorce agreement resolved, the judge can just enter the divorce decree now and date it after your six months are up. Otherwise, if you have not reached an agreement and if it does not seem likely that you will be able to do so soon, you can attend a settlement conference and, if that does not settle the case, you can go to trial.
Contact a San Diego Divorce Attorney with more Questions
For help with your case or in any other aspect of family law, you can turn to the Law Office of Renkin & Associates for the help that you deserve. Our attorneys are ready and willing to provide professional legal assistance for you today.