I get asked quite a bit, how long does someone have to serve divorce papers in Los Angeles after you have filed them? Is there a time limit by which you have to serve the papers?
The reason this is important to know is because you don't want the court dismissing the divorce case causing you to refile and to pay the filing fee again.
I did some research on the time limits regarding serving your divorce papers and this is what I found.
I found that there is no real time limit to serve your divorce papers. Some attorneys have said that in California the time frame is anywhere between 2 to 3 years and if nothing is done within 5 years the court will automatically dismiss the case.
But there is one thing to watch out for that we are seeing in the Los Angeles divorce courts. We have had a few clients who have filed for divorce then decided to wait for whatever reason. Perhaps they were not 100% sure or wanted the holidays to pass, etc.
What has happened is the courts are setting Case Management Conferences for those who have not served the divorce papers within 3 to 4 months. The case management conferences are nothing to be concerned with as the court just wants to see what is going on.
The letter you receive in the mail may even go as far as to say that you need to appear at the case management conference or risk having your case dismissed. They may even state that you need to have you divorce papers served prior to attending the case management conference.
It is important to keep in mind that if you file for divorce and then don't serve them on your spouse for whatever reason that the court may send a letter in the mail. If you have not served your spouse, you probably have not told them you filed for divorce.
Imagine your spouse finding out you filed for divorce 3 months ago and the reason you did not serve them was because things had taken a turn for the better. Now what if your spouse opens this letter from the court? You will probably have a lot of explaining to do.