How long does it take to get a divorce in California?
For most people, it takes at least 6 months to get a divorce in California. It can take longer, but usually, that depends on how the parties involved choose to resolve issues.
Anyone can get a divorce in California. You don’t need a reason (other than having “irreconcilable differences,” which means you and your spouse or domestic partner no longer get along), and you can even divorce if your spouse or domestic partner doesn’t want to. Under California law, nobody’s “at-fault” for the divorce – this is a no-fault divorce state.
The 6-Month Waiting Period for Divorce in California
You have to wait 6 months from the date that the person who filed notifies the other party before a court will grant your divorce. For example, if you file the paperwork on the 1st of the month and officially notify your spouse on the 5th of the month, you must wait 6 months from the 5th of the month because that’s the day you notified your spouse.
Use the table below to determine the earliest date the court can grant your divorce.
Earliest the Court Can Grant Your Divorce
|January||July of this year|
|February||August of this year|
|March||September of this year|
|April||October of this year|
|May||November of this year|
|June||December of this year|
|July||January of next year|
|August||February of next year|
|September||March of next year|
|October||April of next year|
|November||May of next year|
|December||June of next year|
Remember, though, that this table only shows you the earliest date the court can grant your divorce. If you and your spouse haven’t agreed on all the major issues by then, like child custody and property division, your divorce will take longer.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Divorce in California if Both Parties Agree?
If you and your spouse can reach agreements on your own, before you file or during the 6-month waiting period, the court should be able to grant your divorce as soon as the waiting period is over. Your attorney will work with you during the waiting period to get all your paperwork turned in to the court and get your divorce judgment approved (provided the judge in your case finds that it’s fair to everyone involved).
Related: What about summary dissolution?
What if the Parties Disagree?
If you and your spouse don’t agree to the terms of your divorce before the 6-month waiting period is over, your case will hang in the balance until you do reach a settlement. Your attorney will help you negotiate with your spouse – and she may recommend that you use mediation as a way of settling your differences. In some cases, the courts actually order couples to go to mediation rather than fighting things out in court (which is time-consuming and expensive).
Mediation: The Basics
How long your divorce takes depends on whether you agree, and you may be able to speed things up through mediation. You and your soon-to-be ex-spouse will visit a mediator who will strive to get you on common ground within just a day (although sometimes it does take longer). Mediation isn’t for everyone, though, so talk to your attorney about your options if you don’t think it’s the right choice for you.
Related: 17 divorce mediation tips
How Long Does it Take to Get a Divorce in California?
The least amount of time it can take to get a divorce in California is 6 months. Some cases take longer because the spouses can’t agree – but we may be able to help you. If you’re thinking about filing for divorce, or if your spouse has already filed and you need to react, call us at (209) 546-6870 or get in touch with us online to schedule a consultation. You can also click “Let’s Start” below and fill out our contact form to get a call or an email back.