Wife and Husband Signing Divorce Documents

How Long Does a Divorce Take in California? 

Law Office of Shelly Jean John Dec. 21, 2022

Filing for divorce is among the possible options to end your marriage legally in California. However, before filing your petition, it is important to know what to expect and how long it will take to finalize your divorce. An experienced California family law attorney can enlighten you about how long it might take to get a divorce and various factors that might affect the time. 

At the Law Office of Shelly Jean John, I'm dedicated to offering trusted legal guidance and advocacy to clients in family law and divorce-related matters. I'm available to discuss your particular situation, help you understand the California divorce process, and guide you through the legal proceedings from start to finish. The Law Office of Shelly Jean John proudly serves clients across Ontario, Riverside, San Bernardino County, and Riverside County, California. 

Understanding California Divorce 

Divorce can be described as the legal process of dissolving a marriage or marital union. To file a divorce petition in California, you or your partner must have lived in the Golden State for at least six months (or 180 days) before filing. Also, you must have lived in your current California county – where you want to get the divorce – for up to three months prior to filing. 

California Is a No-Fault Divorce State 

Additionally, California is a "no-fault" divorce state. According to the state’s divorce laws, the spouse seeking divorce isn't required to show that the other party's actions or a marital fault caused the relationship breakdown. The acceptable grounds for no-fault divorce in California include the following: 

  • Irreconcilable differences led to the permanent breakdown of the marriage 

  • Incurable insanity or permanent legal incapacity to make decisions 

A trusted California divorce lawyer can enlighten you about your divorce options and how long it will take to finalize your marital dissolution. 

How Long Does Divorce Take in California? 

In the state of California, there is a mandatory waiting period of six months (180 days) after filing your divorce papers before your case can be finalized. During this period, you can attempt to settle your marital issues and reach an agreement on various divorce matters with your estranged partner. 

However, if you're unable to reach an agreement within the six-month mandatory waiting period, the California court will not grant your divorce. Rather, you will be required to go through a divorce trial to resolve any pending divorce matters. 

Factors That Could Affect the Duration 

Generally, getting a divorce in California can take between six months to two years. The actual time it takes to finalize your divorce often depends on different factors, including: 

Residency Requirements to File: As mentioned earlier, to be eligible for divorce, you must have lived in California for six months and the county you're filing for three months prior to filing. Your divorce case may be dismissed or rejected if none of you meet the residency requirement. 

Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce: In an uncontested divorce, both spouses mutually agree on the crucial terms of the divorce settlement. Conversely, in a contested divorce, the couples are unable to agree on one or two divorce settlement terms. When divorce matters are contested in court, the case may drag on for an extended period of time. 

Availability of the Court/Judges: Also, the availability of the court or judges can affect how long it takes for you to get a divorce. If the judge is busy or court dockets are crowded, they may need to reschedule your court dates. 

Complication of the Circumstances: Unfortunately, your divorce case may become complicated due to a number of issues, such as large marital assets, family businesses, custody of minor children, alimony requests, and retirement accounts. Any of these can make the divorce proceedings unnecessarily long and overwhelming. 

Take the Next Steps With a Divorce Attorney 

The time it takes to complete your marital dissolution case usually depends on the surrounding circumstances of your unique situation. When considering a divorce, you need to speak with a seasoned family law attorney for detailed guidance and to help you work out key divorce issues. 

At the Law Office of Shelly Jean John, I have the diligence and experience to advise and guide individuals and couples through the complex procedures involved in divorce. As your attorney, I will work diligently with all parties involved to settle pending divorce issues amicably and quickly. Using my extensive experience, I will guide you through the divorce proceedings and help protect your rights and your family's future. 

Contact me at the Law Office of Shelly Jean John today to schedule a simple consultation with a divorce lawyer. I can offer you the highly-personalized legal counsel and assistance you need to make your transition as smooth as possible. My firm proudly serves clients across Ontario, Riverside, San Bernardino County, and Riverside County, California.