Why does it take so long to get a divorce? / by Andy K

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One of the most common questions we receive is, ‘Why does it take so long to get a divorce?’

That’s a great question. But before we dive into to a full-fledged explanation, it is necessary to differentiate between the types of divorce available. The most common is a standard dissolution, which will take a minimum of six months (though most cases will take roughly a year-and-a-half). Alternatively, there is a summary dissolution, which can be very brief. It is advantageous to get the advice of legal counsel before you file for a divorce to determine which option is best for you.

For a standard dissolution, a large factor contributing to the length of divorce proceedings is that the courts require a six-month waiting period before finalization. This is generally seen as a ‘cooling-off’ period in which couples are given a last chance at reconciliation. In addition to the six-month period, California courts are facing the same budgeting and downsizing that other government departments are facing, so delays in hearings and processing motions are common.

Additionally, a new program began last Saturday, March 1, at the San Diego Superior Court that allows former couples to execute a basic divorce in just one day. According to NBC San Diego, the “One Day Divorce” program was enacted for parties “who do not have attorneys and represent themselves in court.” It is also required that it has been at least six months since filing the petition for divorce or separation, and that there be no contested issues regarding the couple’s divorce. Under ideal circumstances, a couple could leave the downtown courtroom with the final judgment in-hand the same day. As a result, however, both parties sacrifice the knowledge and advice of an attorney through this process. And often, undoing a hasty legal agreement is much more difficult than doing it right the first time.

For the lucky few, summary dissolutions are available. These prove to be the quickest, easiest types of divorce; however, very few people meet the specific guidelines to file in this manner. Some of the requirements for a couple to qualify, according to California Courts, include: a marriage lasting less than five years, not having children together, not owning land or buildings, and not having assets or debts over a certain amount.

Regardless of the type of divorce, it’s always advised to have an experienced attorney in your corner. Reach out to Cassandra Hearn today.