One of the first questions most people have when they’re getting a divorce, is how long does it take? Your San Diego divorce attorney can walk you through the timeline based on your specific circumstances, but there are some general rules about timing. The first thing you should know about a California divorce is that you must be a resident of the state for at least six months before filing. Then, you also need to live in the county where you’re filing the petition for at least three months.
The divorce process
The first thing that occurs in getting a divorce is the filing of the petition with the court. Following the petition, your spouse must be served with the papers. This is when the six-month countdown begins. You cannot get divorced for six months. But there are a lot of things which happen in the next six months.
First, your spouse has a chance to respond to the divorce papers. Typically, there is a 30-day timeframe in which that happens, but that date can be flexible. If you and your spouse have worked out an agreement for the issues between you, i.e., property, custody, visitation and child support, your divorce lawyer in San Diego submits that to the court. At the end of the six-month waiting period, the judge signs the decree of divorce.
You and your spouse can take the six months to work out the issues of your divorce. You may have to attend custody mediation to come up with a parenting plan. The court can set orders in place to address issues of support and finances through the waiting period, but generally, you will be required to attend mediation first.
Termination of marital status
When you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement, you can ask the court for a trial to resolve the problems. If the issues in the case drag out, one party can ask the court for a bifurcation. In a bifurcation, each party to the divorce is restored to single status, even though all the other issues have not been resolved. Essentially, you become single for tax purposes and can remarry. Women can take back their maiden name if they choose.
Bifurcation cannot be requested before the end of the six-month waiting period, and the judge has discretion over whether the bifurcation will be granted. There are certain conditions which must be met following a bifurcation, and you should discuss your situation with your San Diego divorce lawyer before you ask for this option. Negotiation or litigation in the divorce continues until you and your ex-spouse work out all the details.
Many factors affect your divorce
It will take a minimum of six months to finalize your divorce, but your circumstances could be much different. When you and your spouse agree on the issues, the divorce goes much smoother, but that is not always possible. Cooperate with the court and your divorce attorney in San Diego to ensure that you take the right steps to complete your divorce.