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How Long Does It Take for My Divorce to Finalize in California?

How Long Does it Take to Get a Divorce in California?

The length of a divorce varies but will be at least 6 months. California has a 6 month waiting period that starts when your spouse is served with divorce papers. The waiting period is intended to make sure that you still wish to follow through with the decision to end your marriage. The type of divorce will also determine the duration, as contested divorces will often take much longer than uncontested divorces. High-net worth divorces, especially those with hidden assets, can take years to complete.

Seeking to file for divorce in CA? Don't hesitate to contact our firm to speak with an attorney.

The Basic Steps to Getting Divorced in CA: 

  • Residency Requirements: to qualify for a divorce in California, you must first be eligible. To become eligible you must have met the following requirements: 1) You or your spouse must have lived within state lines for at least 6 months prior to filing 2) You or your spouse must have lived within the county that you wish to file for at least 3 months.
  • Grounds for Divorce: Since CA is a no-fault divorce state, you do not need to provide a reason for divorce other than it is irretrievably broken.
  • Paperwork: Once the requirements above have been met, you will need to submit a Form FL-100, Petition for Dissolution, and a Form FL-110. For couples who have children together, additional forms may be required. Next, you must serve your spouse the court documents. This must be done by someone who is over 18 and does not have a personal gain within the trial. Most people utilize the services of a sheriff or licensed process server. The other spouse then has 30 days to respond; whether or not they reply does not affect whether the divorce will finalize (default judgement).
  • Waiting Period: Once the divorce paperwork has officially been filed, you will have a 60-day waiting period required by the state. Even if you and your spouse were to agree on all terms, you must still wait the entire duration.
  • Finalization: During the waiting period, the court may issue a judgement and termination. This would address topics such as asset division, custody agreements, etc. 
  • If you can’t reach an agreement after 6 months, you will need to notify the court that you will require a trial to settle your divorce

Divorce Shortcuts in California

In California, you can become divorced even if you and your spouse have yet to settle all property or custody disputes. In a “bifurcate” divorce, the court terminates your marital status at the 6-month mark, or when you request it after the 6 month waiting period has expired. Although there are still unresolved issues between you and your spouse, they can be negotiated or litigated at another time.

Want to learn more about the process of getting a divorce or dissolution of marriage? Call (951) 779-1610, or contact our team of lawyers to find out what we can do for you today.