Factors That Affect the Length of a Divorce

No one wants to draw out the divorce process. Lengthy legal battles can be expensive, exhausting and emotionally draining for everyone involved. Luckily, the parties involved in a divorce case can take steps to expedite the divorce process. Understanding the factors that can affect the duration of your California divorce can help you finalize it as quickly as possible.

Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce

Whether or not a divorce is contested is the number one factor that affects how long it will take. In a contested divorce, the parties do not agree on the terms of the dissolution (e.g., child custody, visitation, property division, child support, alimony). An uncontested divorce means that both spouses agree or can come to a compromise on the terms, resulting in a settlement and a faster dissolution of marriage. 

If you and your ex-spouse do not get along or cannot communicate well, this can lead to a lengthier divorce process. You may be able to come to an agreement, however, with assistance from an trusted divorce attorney who serves San Diego county. An attorney can work closely with you to identify your main goals for the divorce, then negotiate with your ex-spouse or his or her attorney to reach a settlement that works for you both.

Child custody battlesChild Custody Battles

If your dissolution of marriage involves children that you share with your soon-to-be-ex spouse, expect your divorce to take longer than it would without children. Child custody is one of the most highly debated subjects in a California divorce case. The courts take child custody and visitation decisions very seriously; they are not made lightly or without due care.

The best way to expedite the custody process is by working with your ex-spouse to agree on a parenting plan that works for everyone. With a settlement, you can avoid a lengthy court battle that could be difficult for both you and your child. You can also remain in control of the final agreement. If you and your coparent have difficulty working together, mediation with an experienced San Diego child custody lawyer can help you resolve a custody dispute without a risky and time-consuming trial.

Complex or High-Value Assets 

Besides child custody, property division is the main issue behind stalled divorce cases. In California, if a divorce case goes to court, a judge will divide all marital or community property down the middle. For this reason, most couples in California try to come to their own property division agreements rather than taking the matter before a judge.

The division of marital property can be difficult for a couple to agree upon; especially one that has been married a long time or has complex, high-value assets. A high-net-worth divorce involves assessing and dividing amassed assets, which may include real estate, businesses, investments and retirement accounts. The property division process can be complicated and lengthy.

California’s Residency Requirement and Waiting Period

Administrative issues could also affect the length of a divorce case. For example, California has a residency requirement of at least six months living in the state and three months in the county before a couple is allowed to file for divorce. There is also a mandatory waiting period of six months from the time that a couple files for divorce to the finalization of the decree. This means that no divorce in California will take less than six months. A busy or backlogged municipality where the couple is filing and court-ordered mediation could also extend the timeline of a divorce case.

To resolve your California divorce case as quickly and efficiently as possible while still preserving your rights, contact us. Boyd Law offers free consultations.