How Long Will My Divorce Take?

The title of this blog is one of the most common questions we get from clients at Carroll Law Office. It’s entirely understandable, too. After all, you’re ready to move on with your life and focus on new beginnings.
While California law has guidelines that dictate this, the ultimate answer depends on your situation. The biggest deciding factor in the length of your divorce case will come down to whether or not the divorce is contested.

California is a no-fault divorce state

As a no-fault state for divorce, you won’t have to worry about building a case against your ex. The court essentially doesn’t care about why you’re getting a divorce. In fact, they probably don’t even want to hear it. Court officials will focus on making sure your filing is complete and that there is either an agreement on your divorce or that they’ve settled the necessary details for you.
There has been some discussion about adding ramifications to the California divorce process such as punishing individuals who have been convicted of or admitted to domestic violence. So far this isn’t the case, so unless that changes you shouldn’t bank on this working for or against you.

Uncontested divorce in California

Uncontested divorce, naturally, works more seamlessly than a contested divorce. In this case, it could be as simple as one party filing for divorce and waiting six months for the divorce to be finalized per California Law. Generally, uncontested divorces take between 6-12 months.
If you or your spouse are working to finalize certain details of the divorce, however, that time period will stretch a bit longer. Maybe you’re in agreement on almost every point but are working on who gets what assets. Your case will take as long as it takes to figure that out, but if you’re not able to come to a complete agreement then your divorce could go from uncontested to contested quickly.

Contested divorce in California

When your divorce is contested, either from the get-go or as the uncontested process shifts to contested, the time period can stretch between one and two years (occasionally longer). Contested divorces will have the same required six-month waiting period that uncontested ones do, but the courts will need more time to sort out your situation.

If you and your partner have significant assets and income between you then it’s more likely that your case will take much longer. Because California is a community property state, all property acquired during the marriage will be presumed to be equally owned by both spouses. This could lead to a long back-and-forth, but you can make the whole process easier if you’re able to come to an agreement with your spouse so the courts don’t have to sort it all out.

At Carroll Law Office, we’ve handled divorces of all types and lengths. Even if you think you have an uncontested and “easy” divorce, you should speak to an attorney to make sure you don’t end up costing yourself should your case turn sideways. Our team wants to help you simplify life’s complexities. Contact us today and get your divorce process on the right timeline.