How Soon Can I Be Divorced?

I am sure you have seen signs advertising some type of “quickie” divorce. These signs catch your eye because, let’s face it, a divorce is uncomfortable and emotionally painful. It would be great to get the divorce over with quickly and then take the time to heal at your own pace. If only it could happen that way. But it cannot. I have no idea what those signs are actually advertising. Under Family Law Rules, the soonest you can finalize a divorce is six months and one day after the party initiating the divorce proceeding has the other party personally served with the Family Law Summons and Petition. There are no exceptions.

To be honest, a low percentage of divorces are actually completed and the final Judgment filed within the six month one day time period. In order for this to be accomplished, both parties have to remain in agreement as to the terms they have arrived at, no matter what obstacles may be created along the way. Additionally, all pertinent documents that the Court requires each party to file prior to entering a Judgment must be done in a timely fashion without any delays. The majority of couples I have encountered moving through the divorce process encounter obstacles of one kind or another. Overcoming obstacles often takes time and may require an attitude of acceptance and tolerance that couples are not ready to accept while dissolving their marriage. More often, there is an understandable amount of mistrust, hurt and/or anger between the parties.

If children are involved, there may be disagreements during the process of arriving at a custody and visitation arrangement that is acceptable to both parents. That process sometimes requires court assistance which takes time while the parties attend mediation and court hearings.

Child and spousal support are also issues that parties may have difficulty agreeing on.
Although there are guidelines followed by the California Family Law Courts when arriving at a support amount, disagreements between the parties will often arise in calculating an amount to be paid by one party to the other. Just a few examples include the parties agreeing on the actual gross income each party is claiming; the actual amount of time each parent shares with the children; and hardship credits, such as support provided for children from other relationships, just to name a few. When arriving at a spousal support order, examples of difficulties incurred between the parties include each party’s ability to work; what each party is capable of earning versus the position of employment they may currently have; and is the supported party doing all he or she can do to become self-supporting.

There is not enough room on this blog to address all of the many issues involved with dividing property acquired during marriage and agreeing with each other as to each party’s separate property.

If you experience no disagreement in any of the issues addressed above and full cooperation in completing required paperwork, you may qualify for your divorce to be concluded within the six month, one day time line. If this is not possible, or if the courts take another holiday due to the Coronavirus, your divorce will be concluded when all of the above issues are resolved and the court processes your documents.

Whether you are in agreement, or have issues to overcome, Bawden & Kochis, Family Law Specialists will guide you through the divorce process at the fastest pace your case will allow.

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