| Read Time: 3 minutes | Family Law
How Do I Know if My Divorce is Final in California

Divorce can be an exhausting and stressful process for both parties. The experience can feel like it is taking forever, and you may wonder, How do I know if my divorce is final? You may wish it would be final as soon as you file your petition for dissolution of marriage. Unfortunately, finalizing a divorce may take longer due to California’s mandatory waiting period and the specific circumstances of your case. 

How Long Does Divorce Take in California?

Every divorce is unique, and no two timelines are the same. Each divorce depends on various factors. 

California’s Mandatory Waiting Period

The minimum length for a California divorce is six months. A divorce in California officially starts once the petitioner files a petition for dissolution of marriage in court and serves a copy on the other spouse. Once the other spouse is served, the mandatory six-month waiting period begins. 

The waiting period (also called a “cooling off period”) gives the spouses the time and opportunity to change their minds about the divorce and reconcile. It also provides them time to retain a divorce attorney, gather essential documents, investigate central issues, and prepare for settlement or trial.  

Even if the parties know for sure they won’t reconcile, they must wait until the mandatory six months have lapsed before finalizing the divorce. There is no way to avoid the cooling-off period.

Additional Factors That Influence the Length of Divorce

The waiting period provides a minimum timeframe, but your divorce may take longer due to these additional factors:

  • Complexity of assets involved—The process can be more complicated and lengthy if you and your spouse have accumulated many assets, such as businesses, investments, property, or other financial resources. For couples with relatively few assets, dividing them may be much quicker.
  • Conflict between spouses—If you and your spouse can cooperate and compromise on child support and custody, alimony, and asset distribution, you can present a joint agreement that the court can accept quickly. On the other hand, if the parties constantly fight and cannot resolve the central issues, the process can drag on and require more time with the attorneys and in court.
  • Minor children—If minor children are involved, the process usually takes longer because it can take time to develop a workable parenting plan encompassing child custody and visitation. Generally, both parents will be involved in the care and decision-making for minor children, but the process may take longer if the parents can’t agree.
  • Pre-marital and post-nuptial agreementsPre-marital or post-nuptial agreements may simplify your divorce because they have already established how assets will be divided and how other critical marital issues will be resolved. They can also reduce conflict because decisions are already in place.

The length of the marriage, the involvement of attorneys, the court’s caseload, and the necessity of temporary restraining orders can also influence the divorce timeline. The main thing the parties can do to move the process along as quickly as possible is to remain cooperative and communicative throughout. 

Understanding Divorce Finality

Once you have gone through the divorce process, you want to know, Is my divorce final? To complete your divorce, you must submit a set of final forms. The forms may vary depending on whether there is a default, written agreement, or final order addressing child custody or support. 

The court reviews these documents, and if there are no mistakes and they encompass the necessary issues, the judge will sign a final judgment or divorce decree. The decree will state the exact date your marriage officially ends.

So, to answer the question, When is a divorce final? After the judge signs the papers, the clerk enters the judgment, and notice of entry is sent to you and your now former spouse, your divorce is final. If you have not received the judgment, or it is taking longer than expected, speak with your attorney. Your attorney may be able to track down further information regarding the status of the final judgment.

Contact Pakpour Banks LLP for Questions About Finalizing Your Divorce

If you are in the midst of a divorce and you may be wondering, how do I know if my divorce is final? Pakpour Banks LLP can help answer your question. Mr. Pakpour and Mr. Banks have practiced family law for many years before merging their practices in 2019. They have helped hundreds of clients navigate the complex California divorce process.

Mr. Pakpour is also a Certified Family Law Specialist. We understand that going through a divorce is emotionally challenging. Our experienced family law attorneys fight zealously for your interests and aim to avoid unnecessary costs and turmoil. We can help answer your questions, advocate on your behalf, and ease your stress. Contact Pakpour Banks LLP today to learn how we can help you finalize your divorce

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Brian enters the family law profession with a refreshing approach to these proceedings: heal families; don’t destroy them. In some cases, this means the family is going to look different than it did before. In other cases, this means a new family is created where there was none before. Either way, individuals should leave family court knowing their voices were heard, and with healthy attitudes about themselves and those they love.

Read More Legal Blogs By Brian Pakpour

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