Divorcing couples often want the process completed quickly. However, like many other states, California has a mandatory six-month waiting period before a divorce can be finalized. The six months is used as a cooling-off period, during which couples may decide to reconcile and dismiss the divorce.
If you are considering ending your marriage, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced divorce lawyer. At The Law Offices of Bamieh& De Smeth, PLC, we strive to assist you throughout the divorce process seamlessly and without unnecessary delays.
What is The Purpose of The Waiting Period?
If you’re considering divorce, your relationship will likely be over for some time, so you may be wondering why you need to wait six months to end your marriage. The following are some reasons why states often require waiting periods before finalizing divorce.
- It gives people an opportunity to reconcile: Waiting periods encourage and allow spouses to gain perspective and possibly pursue reconciliation before finalizing their splits.
- Removes the pressure to rush legal matters: The waiting period gives both parties time to investigate, prepare finances, and pursue a fair divorce settlement and custody agreement.
During the waiting period, significant progress can be made concerning various aspects of the divorce. The court can enter a final divorce judgment as soon as the waiting period concludes and if issues such as property and debt division, child or spousal support, and visitation rights can be agreed upon.
When Does The Waiting Period Start?
The six-month period starts after the petitioner files for divorce and the defendant is either served the papers or files a response with the court. Six months plus a day is the earliest a couple can be considered legally divorced and remarry. Save time and money by submitting all relevant documents correctly to the court. If you need help determining what documents you need, contact a California divorce attorney for help.
A Period of Separation Does Not Count As The Waiting Period
Before filing for divorce in California, a married couple does not have to be separated and, in some cases, may still be living together. In fact, if you were separated, that time of separation does not count toward the 6-month waiting period. Remember that separation and divorce are not the same, and your marriage can only be legally terminated by a divorce or an annulment. The clock on the waiting period will start ticking once you’ve filed a divorce petition, served the other party, and provided proof of service to the court.
Does The Waiting Period Have Any Exceptions?
Regarding compliance with the six-month waiting period, there are no exceptions or methods to expedite the date of dissolution for the marriage. However, a couple may request an extension to the six-month period. It is crucial to remember that most people often wait longer than six months to finalize a divorce.
If you use the time during your waiting period wisely, you can discuss your plans, find common ground, and negotiate with your spouse. The longer you spend negotiating, the longer finalizing your divorce will be. You can give yourself the best chance of finalizing your divorce as soon as the waiting period is up by submitting clear and outlined copies of your negotiated plans.
Have Questions About The Waiting Period? Speak With a California Divorce Lawyer Today!
Divorce is a significant transition, and our divorce attorneys at The Law Offices of Bamieh& De Smeth, PLC are here to help you navigate complex issues and answer any questions about the steps involved in preparing for divorce. To schedule your free consultation, call 805-643-5555 or inquire online.