It’s almost impossible to give a one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Just as some marriages last 30 years while others last 30 days, some divorces are fast and others – not so much. However, we can look at the minimum time it takes to get a divorce, as well as any factors that could delay your divorce proceeding.
A ‘Typical’ Timeline
After someone decides to get divorced, the next step is usually to get started on the paperwork. An experienced California divorce attorney can advise on the best course of action and do all the paperwork for you.
So, once the divorce petition is filed, how long does it take to get a divorce?
California has a six-month waiting period, so the earliest you could get a final order is six months after filing your divorce petition. However, you may encounter roadblocks along the way.
Issues That Could Prolong Your Case
You must serve your divorce petition on your spouse. When your spouse is on board with your decision to terminate the marriage, he or she might agree to accept service. However, a reluctant spouse could refuse service or dodge a process server. In some cases, your spouse may live out of state or out of the country, potentially making it difficult to serve the petition.
Your spouse has 30 days from the date served to respond to your divorce petition. If your spouse refuses to answer, you might ask the judge to consider your case a default or uncontested divorce. The judge will review your paperwork before deciding to grant the declaration of disclosure and terminate your marriage.
It can take longer to get a divorce if you and/or your spouse have a high net worth. Property division can become a contentious issue when there is a lot of money or property involved. More negotiation might be involved, and forensic accountants and investigators may be hired. A lawyer with property division experience can help wade through a high-net-worth divorce.
Spousal support can also be a hot issue. Deciding whether one spouse deserves support from the other can be difficult. Calculating the amount of support and length of time it will be paid is often challenging.
Finally, divorces can take longer when children are involved. Both parents must negotiate a parenting plan. If they cannot reach an agreement, they might participate in mediation or attend a court hearing. Any additional meetings or hearings could delay your final decree.
You Need Experienced Legal Advice If You Decide to Get a Divorce
We can’t tell you that your divorce will be final 6 months, 3 days, and 2 hours after filing your petition. We can tell you that we understand the urgency behind many divorce petitions and that we understand all the issues that you will be facing.
Talk to an experienced California divorce attorney today. Please call us at (415) 293-8314 to schedule a confidential appointment with one of our attorneys.
Please call us at 415-293-8314 to discuss your case. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger assist clients along California’s Northern to Southern Coast, including San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Gold River, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, and surrounding communities.