By the time most people are involved with the divorce process, they are mostly past the point of second-guessing and believing the situation can be resolved. Instead, they are ready to get through the process as quickly as possible and move on to the next phase of their lives. One of the things that they are often seeking from their California divorce lawyer is advice on how to accelerate the process. Given the eagerness to move on, many often wonder how long a divorce in California takes.

Timing of a Divorce in California

Divorce times can vary wildly, and there are many factors involved in how quickly the process will proceed. Some of these factors will be something that you may be able to influence, but others will be beyond your control. For instance, one element that can’t be changed is that the minimum time for divorce in California is six months.

California law states that once a divorce is filed, a judge will not be able to issue a final ruling on the situation for at least six months. However, it is possible for the parties involved to use that time efficiently and prepare for that six-month mark.

Many couples, for instance, would like to avoid the expense, time, and uncertainty of litigation for their divorce. Instead, they choose something like mediation, which allows them to negotiate a separation agreement between them, usually with the help of a lawyer who can keep the process focused and moving along.

The process of reaching a negotiated separation agreement could be quickly done, but it also could drag on for some time. Generally, to make this happen quickly, both parties will need to have a desire to reach a conclusion in a short amount of time. However, even if both parties set out with that intention, it’s possible that ironing out the particular details of concerns, such as property division and child custody, may be much more challenging than they ever expected.

How Long Does A Divorce In California Take?

Ensure You Have the Right Legal Assistance

It’s hard to overstate how valuable legal help can be when negotiating these agreements. An attorney can help ensure the process doesn’t stagnate, and they can help the spouses reach agreements that fit legal parameters. A judge will have to sign off on whatever agreement is made, and they will look to see that it aligns with the law.

If a couple can reach a negotiated separation agreement quickly, then whether everything is finalized at that six-month mark will depend on how crowded the courts are and if the judge accepts what’s presented to them. If a couple ends up needing to take a claim to trial, then the time involved could extend significantly. Again, the crowdedness of the courts will be a vital factor, along with how contentious the process becomes.

On the whole, every divorce is different, and it’s difficult to know what unexpected factors may significantly alter the timeline. Sometimes, the process may be moving along rapidly, and an unexpected issue grinds things to a halt. This is why some divorces may only take six months or maybe a few weeks more. At the same time, there are other divorces that can take years to be finalized. Generally, though, the right California divorce lawyer can help the process move more quickly than it otherwise might.


Q: What Are the Residency Requirements for Divorce in California?

A: Before filing for a divorce in California, certain residency requirements must be met. This means being able to show that at least one of the spouses has resided in California for at least six months before filling. They also must have lived in the county where the filing is taking place for at least three months.

Q: Can You Get a Divorce Without Going to Court?

A: It is possible to get your divorce without having to resort to a difficult court battle if both sides are interested and willing to work toward that objective. Divorce mediation, for instance, is a useful alternative that gives a divorcing couple the chance to negotiate a separation agreement that describes a plan for the primary aspects of a divorce. However, even in these cases, a judge will need to affirm the agreement and will check to ensure nothing is out of line with the legal requirements.

Q: What Are the Major Issues That Need to Be Worked Out in a Divorce?

A: The divorce will need to work to separate the lives of two spouses and set a plan for the dynamic following the divorce. That process can be complicated, but it will generally center on a few major elements:

  • Property division
  • Spousal support
  • Child custody
  • Child support

Q: Can Divorce Orders Be Later Modified?

A: It is possible for divorce orders to later be modified, but there must be a significant change in circumstances for that to occur. For instance, something like a change in employment status could qualify. It’s important, though, to work with a lawyer who can make your strongest case if you wish to have any orders modified.

Accelerate Your Divorce Process With the Help of a California Divorce Lawyer

When you are faced with divorce, it can be a stressful and emotional time. There are many important decisions that need to be made and complex legal requirements to meet. Working all of these issues out can be a long, slow process, especially when you aren’t working with someone who has a strong understanding and experience in these situations. That’s why you must work with the right California divorce lawyer.

At The Dorie A. Rogers, APC, we help our clients through the difficult process of divorce with the belief that it can be the first step on the path to a better life. With a background in both law and psychology, we are especially suited to help people through the divorce process in a way that is sensitive and attentive to their emotional needs as well as their objectives regarding the fundamental components of the divorce.

If you need comprehensive and compassionate help through your divorce, contact us today.