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How Long Does It Take To Divorce in California?

The divorce process can seem daunting at first, even for the couples who choose to enter the process amicably without the need for litigation. This leaves many people wondering how fast can you divorce in California. However, the answer to that question is not straight forward. Many factors might impact your divorce along the way and the only way to ensure a timely divorce is understanding these factors and the process of divorce in California. Today, we go over how long it takes to get divorced in California and the reasons it may be drawn out.

Does California Have a Divorce Waiting Period?

The first obstacle you may find in getting divorced depends on the state and how long you have resided here. California divorce law requires a mandatory waiting period of 6 months. What this means is that you cannot get a divorce decree after filing a divorce petition until this time has passed. As such, it you wish to obtain a quick divorce, it would be advisable to start your divorce case as soon as possible.

It is also important to note that you may need to wait longer if you do not meet the state’s residency requirement. A married couple cannot file divorce papers, unless one spouse has been a California resident for at least 6 months. Additionally, one spouse must also have resided in the filling county for at least 3 months.

Factors That Influence How Quickly a Divorce Can Be Finalized

The following factors influence how long it will take to get divorced in California:

Child custody disputes

As child custody issues are often the most contentious to deal with, these matters can drag out the length of a divorce. It is important to note if you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement regarding custody that the court will do so for you.

Division of assets and property

As California is a community property state, you will keep anything you owned before you were married. This includes gifts as well as inheritances. You will also keep half of the money you made during the marriage. The biggest issue here for couples to resolve is the division of marital assets and property. It is possible for a couple to fight over which items should be given to a certain spouse. It is also common for couples to refuse to divide their marital home and argue over ways to split this piece of property.

Your divorce method

You and your spouse have a variety of options to choose from when it comes time to get divorced. You also have the option of filing for an uncontested or contested divorce. An uncontested divorce is resolved at a much quicker pace as you and your spouse enter it already in agreement about certain matters such as custody and property division. If you cannot work out these issues, you will file for a contested divorce, which can take much longer to resolve.

Alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation, can help you and your spouse come to an agreement about the issues you disagree on in a contested divorce. You could also choose collaborative divorce as well, which is where you hire a group of professionals to help you resolve your issues. These professionals might include a mental health professional, a financial advisor, and a family and marriage therapist. Generally, collaborative divorce happens at a slower pace than mediation, but is quicker than litigation.

Can You Obtain a Divorce in CA Within 7 Months?

So, how long does the divorce process take in California? The answer varies but here's a possible timeline for the California divorce process if you are starting at the very beginning.

To obtain a divorce within 7 months the following factors will all need to align:

  • One spouse meets the state’s residency requirement
  • Both spouses fulfill the waiting period
  • Both spouses agree on all their divorce terms
  • The court system can process their paperwork and grant a divorce decree within that time

Reach out online or call our office at (951) 779-1610 to schedule a consultation to discuss your divorce with an experienced lawyer at our firm.