How Long Will My Divorce Take To Finalize?

So you’re getting a divorce and you’re wondering how long it will take? Well, be patient. It usually is never over as quickly as one would like.

Family Code section 2339 (a) provides that spouses cannot finalize their divorce until six months after, “the date of service of a copy of [the] summons and petition or the date of appearance of the respondent, whichever occurs first.”

This means that the soonest you can get divorced is six months after the other spouse has been served with the Summons and Petition, or the date your other spouse appears in the case (usually by filing their Response to Dissolution).

California has one of the longer waiting periods. The reasoning behind this is so that both parties are truly committed to dissolving their marriage or partnership. Reconciliation is very common. Six months is an appropriate amount of time for the parties to gain perspective and possibly reconcile, without having to undue a divorce and remarry.

The Divorce Process

The divorce process itself can be a lengthy one. In instances where the spouses are unable to reach a settlement on all outstanding issues related to their divorce, such as custody, support, and property division, they will likely need time to perform discovery and make legitimate efforts to negotiate a settlement. In the meantime, the spouses can each request temporary orders so that matters such as custody and support are addressed, at least temporarily, while the divorce itself is pending.

Wait! We Already Agree On Everything!

You and your spouse still have to wait the six months even if you agree on everything from the outset. There are no exceptions. However, it would be prudent to have an action plan in place to prevent new issues from arising while you’re waiting for finalization.

For example:

  • Custody and visitation of any minor children;
  • Payment of joint obligations and expenses related to community debts and assets;
  • Acquisition of new assets using separate or joint income;
  • Living arrangements for you and your spouse; and,
  • Ownership and control of a privately-owned business.
Final Thoughts

Contested divorces take the longest to finalize, especially those with complex issues such as business valuations and real estate properties. It is not uncommon for contested divorces to take a year and a half to two years to finalize. Some can even go longer depending upon the circumstances. The more agreements you and your spouse are able to reach from the outset, the easier your divorce will likely be to wrap up.

The Zarin Law Firm, APC has extensive experience handling divorces and negotiating favorable settlements in San Diego County. We handle all types of divorces and have a proven track record in promoting our clients’ interests in an expeditious and efficient manner. Give us a call or contact us to schedule a free initial consultation with a divorce attorney.