So how long does divorce in California take? Well, it depends upon when you believe it begins. The shortest amount of time dissolution can take is six months and a day from the date you serve the petition for dissolution on your spouse. If you and your spouse cannot agree on the terms of the dissolution then a court hearing or trial might be necessary. We have offices throughout the Bay Area for your convenience. Give us a call at 1-877-9NEW-LIFE (1-877-963-9543).
The earliest the court can restore your status as a single person is six months and a day. You may not remarry or file your taxes separately until then. At the minimum this is how long a divorce takes in California.
Starting the Process:
To start the dissolution process a petition for divorce is filed with the court. The party that files the petition initially is called the petitioner and the other party is the respondent. After the respondent receives the petition she or he has thirty days to file a response.
After the response is filed a marital settlement agreement will need to be prepared separating community property and community debts. California law requires that all community property and debts be shared equally, but you can agree to an unequal share if both parties agree.
During the process both parties must make a full disclosure of assets and debts. The discovery process can be tedious. This can be a factor in how long a divorce takes in California. Without full and honest disclosure the discovery process can drag on and make the minimum six months to finalize the divorce much longer. If you and your spouse agree to the terms of the marital settlement agreement then there does not have to be a court hearing. Even if you reach a settlement in less than six months you will still have to wait for the divorce to become final.
A problem that can arise is when one party takes responsible for all of the community debts. If the party making the payments defaults on the payments then the other party could be liable to pay the debts. It is always important to plan for the long term given how long a divorce in California takes.