Often, people who are using an attorney to finalize their marriage termination feel their divorce is taking too long. These individuals often wonder what they can do to help the process move along to finalization. In California, a divorce can only be finalized after six months from the date of jurisdiction, or service. While uncontested divorces can usually be completed prior to this termination date, contested divorces on average can last between one to two years! Thus, the California divorce timeline can vary dramatically from one case to another.
What Determines How Long Divorce Takes in California?
1. Legal Representation
If you hire an attorney for your divorce, you should remember that your lawyer has little motivation to settle and complete the process quickly. Think about it: Attorneys are typically paid by the hour! Therefore, the longer the case continues, the higher their fees. Additionally, attorneys have a strict duty to protect their client’s interests. However, the results of a divorce case will not always justify the costs associated with this approach.
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 your divorce completed in a timely manner. As a result, our divorce cases are often completed in record time compared to similar cases handled by an attorney.
2. Contested Issues
There are several issues that may extend the amount of time it takes to complete your divorce. For example, such issues can include child custody and support, division of community property, and alimony. Furthermore, when children are involved and the parties cannot agree, the court may require psychiatric evaluations and court-ordered studies.
Ultimately, if a couple cannot resolve contested issues, they will have to continue to trial and let the judge make final decisions. As a result, outstanding contested issues will cause a longer divorce. For instance, if the court’s calendar is busy, there may be longer waiting times for hearings, trials, and temporary orders. In turn, if each spouse files motions, the divorce process will most likely be delayed.
3. Prolonged Discovery
If the parties cannot agree on a resolution of contested issues, they may require discovery. For example, if two spouses 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.
Further, some divorce proceedings are very complex and may have underlying issues that need to be settled before addressing property division. For example, if your spouse fraudulently conveyed property, the court would have to resolve this issue before making a final determination about the division of community property.
4. Cooperation & Communication
Cooperation and communication are key in quickly finalizing a divorce. In fact, a prolonged divorce is often a result of disagreement between parties. Therefore, many couples choose to seek California divorce mediation to reach agreements on contested issues. A mediator can serve as a neutral third party and help facilitate discussions to reach a quick resolution.
What To Do if Your Divorce is Taking Too Long
1. Fire Your California Divorce Attorney
As mentioned above, there is no urgency for an attorney to quickly settle a divorce. Therefore, if a divorce is taking too long because your attorney is failing to tackle matters in a timely manner, you can fire them. To do so, send your attorney a letter saying that you no longer want them to represent you. Also, remember that as a client, you have the right to your entire case file. Contact us for more information about firing your attorney and how A People’s Choice can help you handle the remaining aspects of your divorce.
2. 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. Then, 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 too 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 WITHOUT paying hefty legal fees.
MY DIVORCE IS OVER 2.5 YRS. NOW//WHEN THERE IS MOVEMENT THE MY EX’S ATTORNEY FILES ANOTHER CONTEMPT OF COURT .WHICH STOPS THE DIVORCE IN ITS TRACKS//ISN’T THIS KIND OF ILLEGAL ??
Hello, You should speak with an attorney. Thanks,
Hello! My divorce case is now 1 year 4 months filed in court. We have made a 1/2, 1/2 offer (CA), and received the response that I would get nothing. The opposing party just refused to move forward with our first mediation because I would not be there in person, but via Zoom or the like. They have turned over no financials and keep asking for more time for discovery. I would like to be divorced! How long can my case drag on?
Unfortunately, complications can arise between parties and the courts that can cause legal proceedings to take far longer to resolve than anyone would like. While we cannot comment on the specifics of your particular case, it is important that all issues are addressed and solved before the courts to ensure the fairness of the process. We wish you all the best!
My attorney has taken 5 months to respond to the Final settlement letter from my husband’s attorney. When I question her, I don’t get an answer until the 3 or 4 inquiry ( she doesn’t take calls and the time she has her charge is $350) so every time a question again, I am charged an email read charge. She has verbally and in writing, insulted me, reprimanded and even sent , you must sign in 72 hours to release me, letter when I was adamant about an important issue for me regarding division of house belongings. She knows I have been receiving treatment for Major Depression over my ending of my 35 year marriage. Now, we have to respond to the first write up of the Final settlement, and it has been 5 months. The Judge in December 2019 was told in court “ we are 99 percent there, do not need a trial” and was given a 60 day “jurdictionary (?sp) order “ for a Settlement. My attorney said that is a fluid date. . Costs still rising. No end in sight.
Looks like it may be time to get a new attorney if you feel she is not doing her job.
Hi Sandy, my exhibit husband and I have filed all divorce paperwork and a settlement agreement. He’s even cashed the alimony check. I’m looking to purchase real estate but the court has yet to finalize the divorce. Is it safe to buy now? Is there any way to speed up the process through the court?
Have you submitted the final Judgment documents? Some courts take several months to process a final judgment. You may want to call the court if you feel there has been unreasonable delay to see where things are at.
I live in Newyork judge gave me permission to publish divorce in newspaper I did and return all documents how long from now will it take for judge to sign divorce
Hello Jan, we deal with California only, but you should be able to contact the court directly for information on current processing times.
Going through a divorce. It was filed with the courts April 12th, she was served a month prior. We got married in Nevada and it’s taking longer than I anticipated. It was uncontested, no children or assets to split just a clean divorce. What options do I have at this point?
I am not sure how the other party could have been served a month prior to the divorce being filed. This would not make sense. I am not sure your question was worded correctly. You may want to call our office for help at 800-747-2780.
Hi Sandy my lawyer took 15 days to file the divorce after getting all the information and he took sign by me he’s keep delaying to file the divorce papers in this case should I terminate my lawyer? They are not even cooperating me with this matter they are either showing me causes or either they are keep telling me I am doing rush
If you are not happy with your lawyer I would get rid of him. It’s a long process to be unhappy with the person who is supposed to be helping you. If you need the paperwork filed to get it started we can do that as well for far less cost. Call us at 800-747-2780.
I filed for divorce in December 2017. It was uncontested. It still hasn’t been finalized. I’m supposed to be remarrying in a few weeks. Is there anything i can do?
Why has it not been finalized? Have you submitted the paperwork? It would be impossible to know what is going on without additional information. You may want to call our office if you want assistance. 800-747-2780.
My divorce has been going on since November 2015 to present. My attorney is good and not trying to gouge me. The problem is the opposing attorney that is dragging this out. Is there some type of paperwork that can be filed for this. It’s either she can’t make the court date or asked for additional paperwork that does not exist. She has already been sanctioned for filing illegal paperwork.
Hi Juanita- Since you have an attorney, it would seem it would be better for you to pose this question to your attorney who is intimately familiar with your case.
I’m kind of lost from where my divorce process is at this time. My ex-wife had filed a divorce on me back in early February and the documents were served the last week of February. I filed my response in March and i’m not exactly sure what to do now or what’s going to happen. Me and my ex-wife pretty much have everything settled and we have great communication.
We just don’t fully understand how the divorce process works and what else we need to do.
I understand that in California it takes six months for our papers to be processed but what exactly should we be expecting? A letter in the mail stating the next steps? A phone call from the family court office?
The court is not going automatically finish up your divorce case. If you filed a response then there is a substantial amount of other paperwork that will be required in order to complete the process. Otherwise your case will simply be stagnant and inactive. Please give our office a call at 800-747-2780 for help in completing this. With the right paperwork being submitted, you should be able to have final judgment fairly quickly.
Hello Sandy, I would like your opinion on the matter of my parents divorce. It has been well over 2 years since my mom has filed a divorce motion against my step-dad. He committed a crime and was trialed by the justice system and was given 2 years in prison. He has been released for 2 years now and is still putting up a fight with the divorce proceedings, particularly for the assets of cash, the house and the condo. What would be the right direction for my mom to proceed so that the assets will get split and the divorce done with. I know that my step-dad is fighting the divorce even though he committed crimes (sexual abuse) against our family members including my brother and I and our friends, we we’re all under the age of 15 and he was only convicted for my brother and I. He likes to fight legal proceedings and cannot see that he is in the wrong-doing and will not give up and let my mom take her share of assets. He has tried to convince our family that he has changed because he has been seeing a therapist while in prison and after release. Though I do not believe him because he still acts manipulative and controlling and will only doing something if he sees some sort of compensation in return on his end. These are not qualities of a trustworthy person but I do not know what I can do to help with the case so that we can have him out of our lives for good, they we’re married for 16 years prior to the divorce and we we’re once a happy family until I brought to light the crimes he was committing while we we’re sleeping in our beds at home. Any advice to help my mom get through the divorce with a win on the assets would be very helpful. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this.
Hi Max -unfortunately our services are strictly limited to preparing legal documents. We are not attorneys and therefore we cannot advise what your mother needs to do in order to “win assets” in the divorce. In California it’s not typically a matter of winning assets as the courts typically try to make sure that community property and debts are usually equally divided between the parties. There may be extenuating circumstance in your mom’s case, making it more important for her to get the necessary legal advice from an attorney.
My sister has been going through a divorce for a few weeks now and she wants to try and speed the process us. This post mentions that sometimes delays can be caused by lack of documents provided by the other spouse. I should mention that to my sister! I also think it would be beneficial for her to find a good lawyer. What do you think?
First, two weeks is not a long time to be going through a divorce process. A spouse has 30 days to file a formal Response after being served the Petition so nothing can happen until this time has passed. Then, depending on whether the spouse files an answer or not, will depend on what steps your sister can take. If no Response is file, she can proceed with a default action which process is fairly quick to finalize. If her spouse, on the other hand, files a Response, unfortunately this will hold up the case until a resolution of the various issues can be made. As far as your sister getting a lawyer, it may be premature at this point until she sees whether a Response is filed or not file. Either way, depending on the complexity of the issues, with the right professional help such as using our office for the remaining needed documentation, she can probably get through the divorce proceedings without a lawyer.