How Long Does It Take To Get a Divorce in California?

timeDivorce becomes final at least six months after your divorce petition is served to your spouse. This is as long as the residency requirement for getting a divorce in California, and serves as a “cooling off” period, so that couples still have time to change their minds and reconcile. On the other hand, this time can also be used to work out who gets the children, how much child/alimony support to get, and how to divide your common property.

After six months, your divorce will take effect. If you’ve been married for less than five years, have no children, and don’t have a lot of property (and debts), your divorce will be pretty simple – you may not even need to appear before a judge in this case (summary dissolution).

However, deciding on who gets child custody, the amount of child/spousal support, and who gets to keep what property can extend the time it takes to get divorced beyond six months. The more couples fight over children and property, the longer the time it takes to get divorced. So, to minimize delays, it is best to cooperate with your spouse on issues of child custody and support, alimony, and division of communal property – preferably even before you file your divorce petition.

Understandably, full cooperation between divorcing couples is not often the case, and has led to a lot of frustration. So California’s Family Law Code provides a loophole: allowing you to “bifurcate” the divorce – splitting the divorce into two separate issues: marital status vs other issues. With this, your married status ends after six months (or upon your request any time after six months) yet you can still continue negotiating on custody, property division, and other issues after your marital status ends.

If you or someone you know is in need of professional representation in a divorce, custody or any other family law situation, don’t hesitate and call the attorneys at the Law Offices of Bowman and Associates at 916-923-2800.