divorce process

If you are looking to get a divorce in California, you might be wondering about the time frame to complete the process. Some cases can conclude in a few months, while others can extend beyond a year. Many factors come into play when you need to finalize the decree. Here is what to expect when seeking a divorce in the Golden State. 

The Waiting Period

Before finalizing the divorce, you need to wait for six months after serving the divorce papers. During this period, some couples will reconcile and not proceed with the process. Once the six-month period is over, the divorce is not automatically finalized. There are still a few steps to the process. 

Uncontested vs. Contested Divorces

The complexity of the divorce can also affect the timeline. With an uncontested divorce, both parties have agreed on specific terms regarding child custody, property division, and spousal support. In those situations, the finalization process is quick. 

However, if the spouses have disagreements over these matters, that can extend the time frame through additional negotiations and court hearings. 

Other Factors to Consider in Getting a Divorce in California

Additionally, many other variables can affect the time frame of a divorce’s finalization. 

Filing the Petition and Response

To start the legal divorce process, one spouse must file a petition, which the other must respond to within a specific time frame. If the respondent does not respond in time, the original petitioner can request a default judgment, expediting the process.

Negotiations and Mediation

When divorce is contested, many of those differences can be reconciled through negotiations and mediation. A neutral third party encourages discussions to reach a compromise and find common ground. This stage can help speed up the process. But if those negotiations happen to fail, it could lead to a lengthy court battle.

Court Caseload and Scheduling

Remember that the timeline for a divorce can be affected by the court’s schedule and workload. If limited court dates are available, it could cause a delay in hearings or trials. In turn, that can add months to the overall process.

Temporary Orders

In some divorce cases, you may need to obtain temporary orders to address child custody and financial support while the divorce is being finalized. However, this is another time-consuming process that adds to the overall timeline. 

Discovery Process

It might be necessary to go through a discovery procedure during a complex divorce. At this stage, both parties can ask for and exchange information pertinent to the case. Financial records, interrogatories, and depositions are a few examples of this data. Another time-consuming process is requesting the documentation and reviewing the records. 

Trial and Judgment

If mediation and negotiations fail, the divorce case will go to trial. The court’s schedule determines the trial date, which could lead to an extended delay. After the trial, the procedure is complete when the judge issues a divorce judgment. But even after that, it might take weeks to draft and approve the final decision.

The end of the divorce process doesn’t always signify immediate closure. Implementing the divorce decree, the transfer of asset ownership, and the transition to new financial arrangements may take several months to finalize after the judgment has been issued.

Complexity of Assets

When it comes to divorces involving complex asset divisions like businesses, multiple properties, or investments, expect the process to take longer. The court and the legal teams must carefully consider valuing and distributing these assets, which can contribute to a longer timeline.

Learn More About the Timeline for Your California Divorce 

There are a multitude of factors that can influence the duration of the divorce process. Being aware of these variables can help manage expectations when you want to get a divorce in California. 

If you need the assistance of an experienced family law attorney, contact the Roberts & Zatlin Family Law Firm. For over 35 years, we have provided thorough family law services throughout California. 

Our office in Temecula extends its services to Menifee, Hemet, Sun City, Lake Elsinore, Winchester, Wildomar, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange County, Vista, San Diego, Inland Valley, and all other parts of the state. To schedule a consultation today and receive a free initial assessment of your case, please call (951) 381-8147 today.

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