A divorce is finalized once a judge has signed the judgment and both parties to the divorce are in receipt of a copy of said judgment. The earliest this can happen is six months from the time the petition and summons, which begin the divorce case, were filed and served upon the respondent.

A divorce judgment is a final decree, or court order, which outlines all the agreements and decisions made in the divorce and refers to the corresponding attachments. Which attachments are required will vary depending on the specifics and jurisdiction of your case. If you and your spouse have reached a written agreement on the matters of the divorce, you will need to include a request to enter default and a declaration for default.

Other attachments that deal with the major parts of the divorce include, but are not limited to, income and expense declarations, property declarations, a custody and vitiation order, also called parenting plan and timesharing schedule, and orders for spousal and child support. If you or your spouse’s wages will be garnished for the payment of support, an earnings assignment order will also need to be included. If any retirement plans are being divided, you may also need to submit a retirement plan joinder or a pension attachment.

Once you and your spouse have reached agreement in all these documents, you can file the originals with the court clerk. The clerk will then provide you with the filed copies, which you will then need to have served upon your spouse. If it has been six months since the date the respondent was served with the petition and summons, you can enter your agreement and judgment with the court to have the judge sign off on it.

Once your divorce is finalized and you have your final documents, make sure you tie up all loose ends pertaining to the divorce. For example, close any jointly accessed accounts, adjust insurance policies or transfer the ownership of your vehicle. Taking these last steps after your divorce finalizes can ensure you protect yourself from legal action that may arise from improperly filed paperwork or managed accounts.

Are you in Los Angeles County and have some questions or concerns about finalizing your divorce? Certified Family Law Specialist Steven Fernandez has experience with complex divorce issues and will work hard to make sure your divorce is finalized in an efficient manner. Representing individuals in Los Angeles and surrounding areas, Steven Fernandez will listen to your case and, based on your needs, do what it takes to obtain you a divorce outcome you are happy with. Call our office at 310-564-5710; email us at intake@cfli.com or contact us through our online form today to schedule a free consultation.