how_long_does_it_take_to_get_a_divorce_in_californiaThe short answer to this question is that you’ll remain married for a minimum of six months, counting from the day you serve your spouse the papers. Filing the petition itself is not enough to start the clock. Your spouse must actually be served before you can begin counting. Of course, your spouse can request more time to respond to the document, and generally, extensions are easy to get, so if your spouse wants to make the process drag out, he or she certainly has the means to do so.

There are a number of factors besides a reluctant spouse that can delay the process. If there’s a dispute about the custody of children, or the division of property, both can delay (and sometimes, significantly delay) the court’s final granting of the divorce.

There is one unique feature to California State Law, however, that deserves a mention. The law allows you, in some cases, to “bifurcate your divorce.” Essentially what this means is that you can get the court to grant you a dissolution of marriage, even if you’re still fighting over the particulars of property division and custody. Your marriage status is terminated at the six-month mark, and the outstanding issues can be resolved separately. Note that this does NOT occur automatically, however. You’ve actually got to petition the court to do this, so if you have a spouse that’s being unusually combative about certain issues, and what you want more than anything is to simply be done with the marriage and move on with your life, there is a provision to do just that. You will, however, have to wait the full six month waiting period before this even becomes an option. Even so, it’s nice to know that you have this option, even if your spouse wants to drag the process out of dividing your marital property.

Give our team a call and we schedule a free initial consultation to provide more information on how to best deal with your specific situation.