Every California divorce and dissolution of a domestic partnership is unique and follows its own timeline. However, California divorce law has a mandatory waiting period of six months for a divorce or dissolution of a domestic partnership that pertains to all divorcing couples in the state.
California is strict regarding its six-month waiting period and allows no exceptions or methods to quicken a dissolution of marriage or domestic partnership. However, California’s waiting period does not create an issue in contested, complex, or high-net-worth divorces. These take time to resolve debates over children, property, debt, and asset division.
The date a couple separates makes no difference when calculating the six-month waiting period. Only after a divorce is filed and proceedings can begin does the clock start running on a California divorce. This is 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.
The purpose of California’s six-month waiting period, or “cooling off” period, is to ensure both parties are committed to dissolving their partnership or marriage and there is no chance at reconciliation.
Residency Requirements for a California Divorce
Before filing a divorce in California, one must ensure they meet the residency requirements for doing so. Otherwise, their divorce will be delayed even longer. California law requires at least one spouse to be a California resident of the state for at least six months before filing for a divorce and a resident of the county in which they file for a minimum of three months.
California is a No-Fault Divorce State
California allows a spouse to assert irreconcilable differences as the reason for the termination of their marriage. This is speedier than alleging grounds for divorce, such as adultery, fraud, impotency, or any grounds permitted by other states. When a divorce is contested in California, it is contested due to serious property, custody, child support, or spousal support issues.
California Divorce Methods
The method of divorce chosen by spouses can also lengthen the time frame for divorce beyond six months. In an uncontested divorce where the spouses agree on all significant marital issues like custody, support, and property division, it may be possible to divorce at the six-month mark.
If a divorce is contested, spouses may use their waiting period to work out their disagreements through their attorneys or mediation or a collaborative divorce and possibly stay within their six-month waiting period.
California’s divorce process does include provisions for temporary orders to hold the parties until the divorce is finalized. It is better and faster if parties agree on their temporary arrangements rather than involve the court in making orders on their behalf.
The best way to ensure a divorce at the end of your six-month waiting period is to expedite your divorce filing and work with a competent, experienced Los Angeles divorce attorney to resolve as many of your outstanding divorce issues as possible without the help of the court.
Getting a divorce is a challenging life experience. At Fernandez & Karney, our Los Angeles attorneys work to ensure you are aware of your legal rights throughout the process. We also protect your interests and ensure you receive all you are entitled to from your marriage.
Call Fernandez & Karney for help addressing the most crucial aspects of your divorce, including property division, child support, alimony, and child custody. If you have any questions regarding our divorce services or your specific case, feel free to call our office and schedule a confidential consultation.