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How Long Will My Divorce Take in California

This is not an easy question. There is no set schedule for the divorce process. The State of California has a rule that you cannot be divorced for at least 6 months and one day after the other party is either served, or they file their Response. Think of this 6 month waiting period as a cooling-off period. The State wants to make sure that you are serious about ending your marriage and you are forced to think about it for at least 6 months before your divorce can be finalized. But, that 6 months is a minimum. The more complicated your case is, the longer it is likely to take. The more angry one or both parties are, the longer the case is likely to take. However, there is no reason any divorce cannot be completed in 6 months, if the parties make the decision to do that.


The real fact of the matter is this, if you have children and are don’t agree on custody and visitation orders; if you have real estate and can’t agree on selling it or buying the other party out, or if there are domestic violence issues or you have any complicated property issues, the average divorce in the real world will probably take 18 months, or longer. That is reality. If you have a case where one party wants to fight or drag it out, or be difficult for any reason, they can intentionally drag the divorce out and your divorce can easily take longer.


There are methods that can help speed up a divorce case, but that can often be expensive as it often requires multiple trips to court to ask the judge to force the other party to play along. For example, if the other party is intentionally delaying the divorce process, not providing documents or disclosures as required, or is not playing by other Family Law rules, you can file papers with the court to ask for attorney fees from them, or ask for sanctions (penalty fines) from the other. However to get financial sanctions against the other party, you will have to file papers requesting them, serve them on the other side, wait for your court date, then go into court on your hearing date and successfully argue the wrongdoings of the other party. This type of process can be complicated and you will want the assistance of an experienced family law attorney. But, remember, if the other side is acting in an inappropriate manner, you can get attorney’s fees as a sanction. In other words, they can be held to pay for some or all of your attorney’s fees. This is just one way to speed up a case, there are more which will depending on each particular case.


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