How Long Will My Divorce Case Take in California?

Hossein Berenji, Aug 09, 2023

Divorce and family law cases are often complex and emotionally draining. When a family law case is complicated, it often takes longer than usual and can become exhausting for the parties. Clients often hear about cases that take years to resolve and are understandably concerned about the process.

Clients frequently ask, “How long will my family law case take in California?” The answer is that it depends on several factors. Some of those factors are out of our control. However, there are actions attorneys and clients can take to help the case proceed smoothly and be resolved as quickly as possible.

A California Divorce Case Takes at Least Six Months

Married California couples must wait at least six months before finalizing their divorce. The basic steps of an uncomplicated California divorce are:

  1. One partner files proper pleadings with the Court requesting a divorce.
  2. The other partner must be served official paperwork to notify them that the divorce has been requested.
  3. The partner who filed for divorce must share their financial information with the other partner.
  4. If the non-filing partner intends to participate in the divorce process, they must also share their financial information with the filing partner.
  5. The partners must decide on numerous issues, such as dividing the property and debts, custody and care of children, child support, and spousal support.
  6. If the partners can not agree on the issues, the Court may appoint a mediator to help them or may set the case for trial without trying mediation.
  7. If the partners can resolve their issues by themselves, with or without the help of a mediator, they will then file the final pleadings with the Court.
  8. After six months, if the Court agrees that the partners’ agreement is fair, it will render Judgment per the agreement.
  9. If the partners cannot agree on the issues, or if the Court does not agree their agreement is fair, after six months, the Court will render a Judgment deciding the issues and granting the divorce.

These are the basic steps of a California divorce and family law case. But, if there are complicated issues, the divorce process may include many additional steps and be much longer.

Some California Family Law Cases Take Much Longer

Many California family law cases take much longer than six months to finalize. There are many reasons why a case may drag on. Some reasons are unavoidable, but others are not. Some issues that may cause a California family law case to take a long time to resolve include:

  • Domestic violence.
  • Substance abuse.
  • Not being able to locate the other partner.
  • Disagreement over child custody or support.
  • Disagreement over spousal support.
  • Disagreement over property and debt allocation.
  • The judge assigned to the case – some require multiple appearances and take longer to make a final judgment if a trial is required.
  • The Court the case is filed is a jam-packed court with more extended waiting periods for hearings and trial dates.
  • The level of skill and experience of the attorneys representing the parties.

Other factors could apply as well, depending on the case.

Clients Can Often Help Speed Up California Family Law Cases

Only some California family law cases can be fast-tracked. When there are genuine issues that must be thoroughly examined, the case will simply take longer. Clients should not attempt to hurry through the process when issues impact a party’s safety and security. Yet, when there are no complicated issues to be resolved, the proceedings may be expedited in the following ways:

  • If children are involved, keep their best interest top of mind.
  • Do not argue or disagree with the other partner for spite or to prove an unimportant point.
  • Retain the services of an experienced and skilled California family law attorney.
  • Be fair when negotiating with the other partner.
  • Be open to mediation if you cannot resolve your family law case issues.
  • Keep all appointments with your attorney.
  • Promptly return your attorney’s phone calls.
  • Cooperate with the attorney’s office by readily answering their questions and producing any requested information or documentation.

By taking these actions, you’ll be doing everything in your power to help the process move along as smoothly as possible.

Get Legal Help From an Experienced Family Lawyer

California family law cases can be unpleasant and difficult. Clients usually want to get through the divorce and family law case proceedings as quickly as they can.

Married couples must wait at least six months before finalizing their divorce. But, many California family law cases take much longer. How long the family law case takes depends on several factors. Retaining a skilled California family law attorney can help you successfully navigate the family law case proceeding as quickly as possible.

Contact a Beverly Hills Divorce Law Lawyer Today

If you’re going through a divorce, you need a strong team on your side fighting for your rights. Call Berenji & Associates Divorce Lawyers today to know how we can assist you.

Beverly Hills Office
9465 Wilshire Blvd #333
Beverly Hills CA 90212
(310) 271-6290

Los Angeles Office
550 S. Hill Street STE 1467
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 985-3007