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2024 How Long Does a Divorce Take in California?

Divorce can present various challenges during an already emotional time. From asset division to ensuring the well-being of children, there is always a lot to consider and agree upon in a timely manner. You may be asking yourself, “How long does a divorce take in California?” While the timeline for divorce proceedings varies greatly, based on the specifics of your individual scenario, having an experienced divorce attorney on your side can ensure that time is not wasted and instead used efficiently.

Overview of the Timeline for California Divorce Proceedings

In 2024, divorce timelines in California can vary greatly, as they are determined by the details of each case. Divorces always fall under one of two categories: uncontested divorce or contested divorce. Uncontested divorces, where spouses agree on the major issues between them, like spousal support, child support, child custody, or property/asset division, can be settled within a few months.

However, California law requires a six-month waiting period before the divorce can be officially finalized. This waiting period is referred to as the “cooling off” period in California. This ensures that both parties have taken time to be certain that they are confident in their choice. It also prevents anyone from remarrying within six months of the initial split.

Contested divorces that involve disputes over these issues take much longer. Couples must undergo (sometimes several) rounds of mediation to come to a settlement, which can take a very long time, depending on the issues and individuals involved. Because contested divorces also involve the court system, you must factor in the availability of the court and all lawyers in the case when estimating a timeline. Overall, divorce proceedings in California can range anywhere from a few months to multiple years.

Are There Any Strategies for Expediting the Divorce Process in California?

While navigating the divorce process in California can be very time-consuming, there are strategies that you and your attorney can use to expedite the process.

  • Secure Experienced and Efficient Legal Representation: When you hire an experienced divorce attorney who understands California’s laws, you can rest assured that the process will move at a more efficient pace than if you were to handle it alone. There are many complexities in California law that an experienced California lawyer knows how to navigate. They can advocate on your behalf in and out of court/mediation and ensure that your rights are always upheld throughout the process.
  • Mediation: Mediation can help resolve issues that you aren’t able to agree upon on your own. Any time you can resolve issues outside of court, you are saving time and, thus, expediting the process.
  • Cooperate, Communicate, and Compromise: Being willing to cooperate and effectively communicate their concerns and priorities, such as the interests of the children, can allow ex-couples to streamline the process and amicably make decisions. Both spouses can consider which topics they are willing to compromise on ahead of time so that only their yet-to-be-agreed-upon non-negotiables are discussed in detail during mediation.

By implementing these tools and strategies, couples can minimize conflict, thus saving time in their divorce proceedings.

How a California Divorce Lawyer Can Help

Navigating the divorce process in California requires careful consideration of various factors and nuances. By embracing and implementing strategies, like effective communication, cooperation, and compromise, spouses can expedite the proceedings and minimize the conflict between them. Mediation can offer opportunities for amicable resolutions when deciding upon issues like child custody and asset division.

An experienced California divorce attorney is a crucial member of your support team while navigating a divorce, so be sure to hire one that aligns with you and your family’s particular needs. Lastly, when considering divorce, remember that California requires a six-month “cooling off” period before a divorce can be finalized.


Q: How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce If Both Parties Agree in California?

A: In California, an uncontested divorce can take as little as six months from the date the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is filed. The six-month waiting period is mandated by California state law, even if the proceedings themselves do not take that long.

On the contrary, a contested divorce can take several months to several years, depending upon the circumstances of each specific case. Factors such as child custody and asset division can take a long time to mediate.

Q: How Long Does the Average Divorce Take in California?

A: The average timeline for a divorce in California ranges from six months to several years. This varies depending on different factors, such as whether the divorce is contested, the complexity of the case, how well the spouses can cooperate and communicate, and the court’s schedule. A divorce attorney can help you better understand your specific timeline.

Q: What Is the 6-Month Rule for Divorce in California?

A: The six-month rule for divorce in California is called a “cooling off” period. This statute requires couples to wait six months before their divorce can be finalized, even if the divorce is uncontested. The six-month period begins when the petition is served by the divorcing spouse. During this time, both spouses can “cool off” and attempt to reconcile if need be. Only after these six months have passed can a divorce be finalized. Then, either spouse can be eligible to remarry.

Q: How Can I Speed Up My Divorce in California?

A: To speed up your divorce in California, it is important to focus on efficient communication and cooperation with your ex to resolve issues amicably. Mediation can be a huge resource in settling issues surrounding asset division and child custody. An experienced and knowledgeable divorce attorney can help streamline and expedite the proceedings and avoid potential delays.

Contact a California Divorce Attorney

Our experienced attorneys at All American Law are well-versed in California law and are thoroughly equipped to guide you through your divorce. Whether your divorce will be contested or uncontested, we can fight for your rights and fairness throughout either process. If you or a family member has filed, will file, or has been served a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, contact us for a consultation. You do not have to endure this process alone.

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