Divorce Waiting Period / by Cassandra Hearn

Divorces can create a time of chaos and uncertainty.  Most people want nothing more than to get the court case over quickly and start building their future.  The entry of the final order is often the "light at the end of the tunnel" for most divorce litigants and something they look forward to with great anticipation.  Those who are considering divorce or just starting out in the process need to be aware of the rules surrounding time limitations for divorces.

While some states require a waiting period or separation period before either spouse can file for divorce, California has no such requirement.  This means that if you decide today that you want to file for a divorce, you can do so, even if you are still living with your spouse.  The only restriction to this is that spouses must meet the requirements for California residency.  At least one spouse must have resided in California for six months, and in the county where they seek a divorce for at least three months.

There is, however, a waiting period for actually obtaining the divorce.  California has a six month waiting period for divorce.  The six months runs not from the date the divorce petition was initially filed, but rather from the date the other party was served with the petition.  Happily, if the parties are able to come to an agreement, there is nothing stopping them from submitting their settlement agreement and proposed final order to the judge long before the six months has expired.  Depending on the judge, some will process the paperwork much quicker than six months.  Once the six month waiting period has expired and the judge has signed the final decree of divorce, then the parties are considered legally no longer married, and are free to remarry if they choose.

If the parties agreed to reconcile before the six month deadline, it is possible to set aside the final decree and extinguish the pending six month marriage termination date.  This is true even if the parties have already filed their final paperwork and the judgment is signed.  In this case, both parties would need to agree to the reconciliation and file paperwork to dismiss the divorce.

Divorce can often have technical procedural rules.  You need an experienced attorney to help make sure your divorce gets done the right way.  Call us today at (619) 800-0384 for a consultation to discuss your divorce.