California has a six-month waiting period for divorces. A dissolution cannot be finalized before the requisite amount of time has passed. Thus, you cannot expedite your divorce. However, you can take steps to make the process more efficient. Also, if you are concerned about the safety of you and your child, you may seek ex parte orders to have the court issue temporary orders for certain matters while your divorce is pending. While these avenues won’t eliminate the waiting period, they can help get things settled quicker.
California’s Six-Month Waiting Period
Under California Family Code § 2339, courts cannot finalize a dissolution of marriage until six months have passed from the date the other spouse was served or first appeared in court. Although the waiting period can be extended upon good cause, it cannot be shortened.
The waiting period gives you time to consider your request for divorce. You and your spouse might decide that ending your marriage is not the right path for you. Because of the waiting period, your divorce is not immediately finalized, and you have the opportunity to withdraw your request.
Making the Divorce Process More Efficient
Although your marriage cannot be legally terminated until the waiting period has passed, you can explore various avenues to help things move more smoothly.
Agreeing with Your Spouse on Divorce-Related Matters
One of your options to facilitate an efficient divorce process is deciding on how to settle divorce-related issues, such as spousal support or property division outside of the courtroom. When spouses can agree on things between themselves, this is an uncontested divorce.
Uncontested divorces are often faster than contested divorces (where the couple disagrees on most things) because it avoids the need for trial.
Collaborating with Your Spouse and Attorneys
Similar to an uncontested divorce is a collaborative divorce. In a collaborative divorce, you and your spouse come to an agreement on divorce-related issues without going to trial. The difference is that your and your spouse’s lawyers are part of the discussions.
Having your attorneys assist with resolving certain matters can help you feel more confident in your decisions and allow you to walk away feeling that things were settled fairly.
Working with a Third-Party Mediator
Mediation is like collaborative divorce, except it involves you and your spouse working with a neutral third party to decide how issues are settled. The mediator opens the lines of communication between you and your spouse, allowing each to understand the other’s needs and wishes.
Constructive discussions between you and your spouse can enable you to agree on matters outside the court and avoid trial.
Filing for a Summary Dissolution
The process for a summary dissolution is easier than that for a standard divorce, as it requires less paperwork and agreement between the spouses.
This option is available if you and your spouse:
- Were married for less than five years,
- Do not have biological or adopted children under 18 years of age, and neither of you is currently pregnant,
- Do not own a home,
- Have less than $6,000 in debt and assets valued at less than $47,000,
- Do not want spousal support, and
- Agree on property division.
You must still wait six months before a summary dissolution is finalized.
Getting Divorce Forms to Your Spouse Quickly
The six-month waiting period begins after you serve your spouse with the divorce petition and summons. Thus, if you want your divorce finalized as soon as possible, you must ensure that you get those forms to your spouse immediately.
Requesting Ex Parte Orders
You might be seeking an expedited divorce because you believe that the safety of you and/or your child (or children) is in danger. If you need the court to make a quick decision on certain matters, such as child custody, you can file a petition for ex parte orders.
Generally, ex parte orders may be issued without hearing the other party’s side of the story. The judge bases their decision on what the petitioner has stated in their request.
Discuss Your Case with Our Firm
You cannot expedite your California divorce. Still, that doesn’t mean you’re without options for facilitating a smooth process. Working with your spouse, a mediator, or your lawyers can enable you to come to agreements with your spouse outside of court. And ensuring that your paperwork is prepared and processed right away can get the waiting-period clock ticking sooner.
At Claery & Hammond, LLP, our Los Angeles team provides experienced counsel for family law matters and works to protect our clients’ best interests. Schedule a consultation by calling (310) 817-6904 or submitting an online contact form.