California divorce how long will it take?If you choose to file divorce in California there are several obstacles, including residency requirements and a waiting period. Recently on our legal forum a California resident asked, "If I file for divorce in California will I be granted a California divorce immediately or will I have to wait?"
Waiting period for a California divorce
Divorce is considered a serious decision. Not only does it have immediate ramifications for you and your spouse, if you have children the divorce is even more complicated. With this in mind, the state of California has imposed a six-month waiting period from the date you serve your spouse with the divorce papers, not the date you file your California divorce petition.
After you serve your spouse with divorce papers they will also have up to 30 days to respond to the California divorce petition. In some cases they may have longer than 30 days if they file a request with the court. After your spouse responds to the petition you will have six months to negotiate all of your divorce issues such as spousal support, child support, and property division.
What if I cannot reach an agreement in my California divorce?
If you and your spouse are able to successfully negotiate the details of your California divorce you can have your divorce lawyer submit the information to the court for approval. The decree for the divorce is then signed at the end of the six month waiting period. Couples who are unable to negotiate the details of the divorce within the six month waiting period will have to ask for the court for a court date to hear their case.
California Divorce residency requirements and other factors
Another consideration before filing for a California divorce is whether or not you meet the residency requirements in the state. California's residency requirement for divorce is six months. If you have not resided in the state for at least six months you cannot file for divorce.
In addition to the residency requirements and the waiting period requirements if you have children and you and your spouse cannot agree on a custody and parenting plan you will have to attend mediation. This rule was created to help eliminate litigation and instead force parents to try mediation first.
What if we cannot settle our issues within 6 months?
California law will allow the courts to grant your divorce after six months even if you are still negotiating child and property issues. This is called a bifurcated divorce and will allow a termination of the marital contract, although divorce issues will continue to be mediated, litigated, or negotiated.