A divorce in California can take as little as six months to well over a year. California residents must wait six months, starting from the date of service upon your spouse, before the divorce can be finalized.

There are many reasons why a divorce would take more than the six-month minimum waiting period. A lot needs to be agreed upon before the courts can finalize your divorce.

You have to have an agreement over property division, spousal support and child support and a parenting plan if you have minor children. These might seem like easy enough issues to work out in six months, however it is often the case that these issues can be dragged out over several months of negotiations.

Having significant assets and/or a high net-worth is a common reason why divorces are not finalized by six months. In general, more assets will mean more to agree upon and more room for conflict. When it comes to anything of value, both parties going their separate way will want to hold on to as much as they can to provide financial security going forward. Especially for those spouses who are not self-supporting, keeping assets is important and worth the fight.

Because in California, all community property has to be divided equally among the two parties to the divorce, the more property you have, the more complicated the division will be. What you are dividing is not the actual assets and debts themselves but the overall net-worth of the couple. If you take your total assets and subtract the total debts, you will reach your marital net-worth. You and your spouse are both entitled to walk away with half of this value.

Unless you sell all your property and liquidate all your assets, this division will take place through negotiations over what property will be held and by whom and what property will be sold. Your divorce does not have to take a long time if you have a high net-worth; a good family law attorney may be able to work out the property division through skilled negotiations with your spouse’s attorney. Having an attorney with experience in handling complex property division and representing high net-worth individuals will ensure your property division is done as efficiently as possible.

Are you in the Los Angeles area and have questions about the divorce process? Certified Family Law Specialist Mark H. Karney has experience representing high net-worth individuals in their divorces. Attorney Mark H. Karney can handle your complex property division issues efficiently. Call our Los Angeles office at 310-564-5710; email us at intake@cfli.com or contact us through our online form to schedule your free consultation with one of Los Angeles’s premier family law attorneys.