Is your divorce taking too long? Has the divorce process stalled with no sight of resolution? We often receive telephone calls from prospective clients who ask us, “Why is my divorce taking too long?” Often these people are represented by an attorney. They have become frustrated with the legal system and want to know what they can do to help the divorce process move along to finalize the process. If your divorce is taking too long, read on to learn more about how to speed up the divorce process and how A People’s Choice can help you.
In California, a divorce can only be finalized after six months from the date of jurisdiction. The date of jurisdiction is the date the respondent was served. Uncontested divorces can usually be completed prior to this termination date. On the other hand, a contested divorce on average can last between 1 to 2 years. The divorce timeline can vary dramatically from one case to another.
If you hire an attorney to handle the divorce, you need to be aware that the attorney has little motivation to quickly settle and complete a divorce. Attorneys typically get paid by the hour. The longer the case goes on, the higher their fees. Attorneys also have a stricter duty to protect the interests of their client. The costs associated with this approach, unfortunately, may not be justified by the results. On the other hand, A People’s Choice charges a flat fee for all of our services. Therefore, it is in our interest to work as hard as possible to get the divorce completed as quickly as possible. This is why our divorce cases are often completed in record time as compared to similar cases handled by an attorney.
What Determines How Long Divorce Takes in California?
There may be several issues that extend the amount of time it may take to complete your divorce. Such issues may include disputed child custody and support issues, when division of community property cannot be agreed to, and when alimony is involved. When children are involved and the parties cannot agree, the court may require psychiatric evaluations and court-ordered studies. If a couple is unable to resolve some of the issues mentioned above, they will have to continue to trial and the judge will make the final decision.
Contested issues will cause more time to be added to the divorce process. If the court’s calendar is busy, there may be longer waiting times for hearings, trials and temporary orders. This means that if each spouse files motions, the divorce process will most likely be delayed.
In addition, a divorce may be delayed as a result of prolonged discovery. Discovery is only necessary if the parties cannot agree on a resolution of the issues. If you and your spouse have substantial assets and debts, the divorce process may be delayed to provide each spouse the opportunity to respond to request for the production of documents or special interrogatories regarding community property and debt.
Some divorce proceedings are very complex and may have underlying issues that need to be settled before property division can be addressed. For example, if your spouse fraudulently conveyed property, this issue would have to be resolved before a final determination of the division of community property is made.
Cooperation & Communication is Key
Cooperation and communication are key in quickly finalizing a divorce. If a divorce is taking too long, it is often because the parties disagree about custody, child support or spousal support, or how they will divide property and debt. These disagreements will subject the couple to a prolonged divorce process. Seek mediation if you and your spouse are struggling to reach and agreement. A mediator can serve as a neutral third-party and can help facilitate discussions to reach a quick agreement.
My Divorce is Taking Too Long – What Can I Do?
If you are asking this questions, don’t lose hope. There are actions that you can take if your divorce is taking too long. Here are some options to consider.
Fire Your Divorce Attorney
Your divorce may be taking too long and delayed as a result of your divorce attorney’s non-responsiveness. As mentioned above, there is no urgency for an attorney to quickly settle a divorce. If a divorce is taking too long because your attorney is dragging the case out, or failing to tackle matters in a timely manner, you can fire your attorney. Send your attorney a letter telling him/her that you no longer want him/her to represent you. As a client, you have the right to your entire case file. Contact us for more information about firing your attorney and how we can help you handle the remaining aspects your own divorce.
Bifurcate Your Divorce
If a divorce is taking too long and settlement does not seem possible in the near future, you can consider bifurcating your case. When you file a motion for bifurcation, you ask the court to give you a “status only” divorce. This process returns you to single status, allowing you to remarry. The remaining issues are set aside to be resolved at a later time. Contact A People’s Choice for more information about bifurcating your case.
As discussed above, there may be several reasons your divorce may be taking so long. Contact A People’s Choice to find out how to speed up the process. You do not need an attorney to file for divorce. A People’s Choice can help you draft and file all the documents you need to complete your divorce.