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How Fast Can You Get a Divorce in California

by Steve Fritsch on January 26, 2016

fast divorceHow fast you can get divorced depends on a variety of factors, including how likely you are to agree to the division of the things you own together, including your family home. If you have children under the age of 18, own property or other assets or disagree about how your money should be divided, your case will naturally take longer. If you both agree to terms and are both willing to move forward, then the process could be complete in little over six months from the time you file for divorce.

Uncontested Divorce in California

If you live in California, you have the option of a fast and relatively easy divorce. An uncontested divorce allows you to get on with your life quickly and may be a good resolution if you can agree to terms and are both willing to go through the process. You may not have to go to court for an uncontested divorce; you can work with an attorney and do much of the process by mail or even with a judge’s clerk.

Uncontested divorce in California is usually possible when:

  • Both parties agree of the separation of assets, property and money; if there are minor children, both parents need to agree to the way custody will be handled.
  • Your spouse is unlikely to dispute or respond to your divorce case; you will then likely receive a default judgment.

Even with an uncontested divorce you’ll wait at least six months after filing before your divorce becomes official. Not all states have waiting periods, but California does; this period was designed to give you time to change your mind.

When Can You File for Divorce?

You or your spouse must live in the state for at least 6 months before you can file for divorce. Once you file, your spouse will have 30 days to respond, although the court could allow more time if requested. The six month waiting period described above begins when the papers are served; you can use that time to come to agreement on all of the major issues, from the ownership of real estate to the custody of children.

Custody Could Cause Delays

If you have kids and have not agreed on a parenting and custody plan when you file for divorce, the state of California requires you to go to custody mediation. You can work out a plan for custody and any financial issues, including child support, at this time. If you both agree on how to handle custody and child support, then you could get an uncontested divorce in the state – which is the quickest way to get divorced in California.

What Happens to Your Property?

Differences in opinion about what you will do with your home and other assets can cause delays; and acrimonious divorce often takes more time to finalize. If you are able to work out terms that work for both of you, then you’ll be more likely to be able to complete the divorce process quickly.

Summary Dissolution

For those without children, who have only been married a few years and who do not own real estate, a summary dissolution might be the quickest route to a divorce. You need to work with your spouse to divide up any property you do have and file a divorce petition together. There is still a six month waiting period, but the process is streamlined and may be easier for you both.

Is Faster Better?

You may desire a fresh start and putting your marriage behind you can help you start over, but a quick divorce does have some drawbacks. If you move too quickly and try to do things yourself, you could miss out or overlook some important points that may end up costing you later. It is important to get legal representation when you seek to divorce your spouse, even if you are both agreeable to the proposed terms.

If you are planning on getting divorced and live in California, we can help you learn more about your options. Contact us to talk about your options and learn how long the process will take in your specific case; we’re here to help you when you need us most.

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