How Long Does a Divorce Take in California?

Father standing across from mother and child

San Jose Divorce Lawyer Discusses Factors That Lengthen Divorces

The cost of a divorce in California varies depending on the circumstances. Each case is going to be different. The same is true for how long a divorce takes to conclude in California. Many different factors can influence the length of a divorce – especially in cases where both former spouses are contesting the terms of the divorce.

However, there are additional factors, such as issues involving property division, that may also increase the length of a divorce. Below, our San Jose divorce lawyer discusses situations where a divorce may take longer.

Factors That Lengthen a California Divorce

Perhaps the greatest factor that can lengthen a divorce is when two former spouses cannot agree on the terms of a divorce. Common reasons spouses fight include:

  • Child custodyChild custody agreements can be a source of contention in a divorce. Parents may be unable to agree on how to divide time spent with their children.
  • Child support. The court may order one parent to pay child support. Depending on the payment amount and other circumstances, parents may fight over the monthly payments.
  • Alimony. Like with child support, spouses may be unable to agree on payments for alimony. Alimony is also called spousal support.
  • Property division. In a contested divorce, there are often disagreements over property ownership rights.
  • The overall level of complication. Certain factors can complicate a contested divorce. For instance, certain financial matters can affect the length of a divorce. A contested divorce may take longer if one spouse is hiding assets. Complex assets can also affect the length of a contested divorce.

The more combative spouses are, the longer the divorce is likely to take. Fighting over every aspect of the divorce typically means more court hearings or meetings with family law attorneys.

What Happens When I File for Divorce in California?

Once you file for a divorce in California, you enter a six-month waiting period. The waiting period is in place to give couples one more chance to repair a broken marriage. What happens next depends on the circumstances. During this time, you may seek temporary orders to resolve issues surrounding child support or custody.

If your spouse ignores the divorce petition, then the court may enter a default judgment. On the other hand, the court may issue a judgment after a trial if you and your spouse cannot agree to the divorce terms.

It may take only six months to finalize a divorce in cases where spouses can agree on matters surrounding their separation. When former spouses fight over every little detail, whether it be over child time-sharing or alimony payments, divorces may take longer.

How Long Does a Contested Divorce Take in California?

A contested divorce in California can take anywhere from several months to several years to finalize, depending on the complexity of the issues and the willingness of the spouses to cooperate. During a contested divorce, there may be court hearings, discovery, and other activities that can add to the length of the process. It is important to consult a qualified attorney to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process.

Below are the following reasons that a divorce might be contested and time estimates of how they can slow the process:

IssueLength of Time
Custody & Parenting Time6-18 months
Property Division3-9 months
Debt Allocation1-3 months
Spousal Support4-12 months
Tax Issues1-3 months
Child Support1-3 months

A contested divorce can be expensive, time-consuming, and emotionally draining. It often involves lengthy court proceedings, discovery, and other activities, which can all add up to a lot of stress and financial cost. Additionally, a contested divorce can be unpredictable and can often end with an unsatisfactory outcome for one or both parties. It is generally in the best interest of both parties to try to reach an agreement on the terms of their divorce outside of court instead of going through a contested divorce.

Contact Our San Jose Divorce Lawyer For a Consultation

If you have specific questions about divorce in California, then call our San Jose divorce lawyer for a consultation. You can schedule a consultation with us by dialing (408) 844-4016 or by using the case review form on our site.

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