How Long Does Divorce Take In California

How Long Does Divorce Take In California

As a licensed and bonded legal document preparation firm located in Santa Clarita, California, we are asked often how long the divorce process takes in California.

Most are not pleased to learn that the divorce process takes at a minimum of 6 months plus 1 day.  But when does the clock start ticking on this six month process and why does it take 6 months.

To answer the first question, the clock does not start ticking when you file the divorce papers as most people think.  The 6 month clock starts from the time you serve your spouse with the divorce papers.  Keep this in mind when you are planning to get divorced.  There may be reasons why you would want to file and get your spouse served for the sole purpose of starting the clock on the 6 months waiting period.

Now for the second question on why there is a six month waiting period. California calls it a cooling off period.  I think that speaks for itself.  The California divorce courts want there to be a period of time where they allow the married couples to reconcile their marriage.

But don’t think that the 6 months cooling off period will be what holds up your divorce.  In fact, it will probably take longer in many cases.  As of know the courts are so backlogged with divorce cases and reviewing judgments that is it taking them 2 months just to review your judgment paperwork.  And if your judgment is rejected, you just added on another 2 months, at least, before your divorce can be finalized.

There is a way around this, however.  There is nothing that says you cannot get all your divorce paperwork done in the first few months of the divorce process and submit your divorce paperwork early, prior to the 6 month cooling off period ending.

What we do when possible is get all the divorce paperwork done within the first 3 to 4 months and submit it to the court for review.  Knowing that it takes about 2 months before they will actually get to the judgment to review, we find that the courts will still sign off on the judgment, but will post date the effective date of the divorce to a date that is 6 months and one day after the original divorce petition was filed.

We are a divorce service that is headquartered in Santa Clarita, CA and serve all the courts in Los Angeles County.  We provide a 100% online divorce process