If you are contemplating ending your marriage, you might be curious about how long a divorce agreement could take. But every petition for the dissolution of marriage is unique, and the time taken to conclude varies significantly. However, understanding California divorce laws can tell you what to expect – well before your court date.

Seasoned lawyers at our Fresno, California law firm are trained and experienced in the California divorce process and can predict how long it could take to conclude the case. After an in-depth consultation, a legal expert can determine the complexity of the matter and advise on how to complete the process in a timely manner.

Is There a Waiting Period for Divorcing Couples in California?

A divorce petition in California might not start immediately after you file for divorce. By California law, there is a mandatory waiting time of six months. Since you cannot bypass the waiting period, it would be advisable to file sooner if you want the legal process to begin and end sooner. As soon as you are certain that you want to end the marriage, consider reaching out to seasoned Fresno divorce attorneys.



Another factor that might make you wait longer is your residency status. Before filing as a California resident, you or your spouse must have resided in the county you want to file in for a minimum of three (3) months. However, the length of state residency should be at least six (6) months.


Does the Divorce Method Affect How Long it Takes to Conclude?

You can file your divorce in several ways, depending on the situation. A Contested divorce might take longer than an uncontested divorce in California, and could require that you file additional paperwork. If you and your soon-to-be ex are in agreement about issues such as property division and custody, it is advisable to file under uncontested divorce and quicken the process.

Divorce cases with contested issues often take longer to conclude. However, you can explore options like mediation in an attempt to resolve the contentious issues faster. You could also consider collaborative divorce, where you hire professionals such as marriage and family therapists, financial advisers, and mental health professionals. Collaborative divorce might take longer than mediation, but it could be faster than litigation.


What is the Right Divorce Filing Procedure in California?

Failure to file the divorce as required can derail the entire process and keep you waiting longer for a resolution.

First, you have to make sure that you are eligible to file. Notably, you don’t need to specify the reason for the divorce since California is a no-fault divorce state. The forms to fill include Form FL-110 and Form FL-100 and other additional forms if you have children together.



Once the forms are complete with the right information, you are required to file them at the family law office clerk. After that, you will take the original papers and two additional copies to the family law business office and pay a filing fee of $435. The original copy thereafter remains in the clerk’s office, a copy becomes your personal record, and the other copy should be served to your spouse.


Does My Partner’s Failure to Respond to the Divorce Papers Derail the Process?

Serving your soon-to-be-ex is a very critical part of the divorce process. For instance, the six months waiting period begins counting the day your spouse is served with the divorce papers. So, the longer you wait to facilitate the service, the longer the divorce is going to take. So, if you are unsure how to go about it, consider consulting with experienced Fresno divorce attorneys.

The other party to the divorce usually has 30 days to respond to the divorce. The procedure for filing the response is usually similar to how you filed the divorce. Whether the person files their response or not, the divorce proceedings continue regardless. However, you have to file a “request for default” for the court to consider the other spouse’s position and consider your request.


When Should We Disclose Our Financial Information?

The spouse who initiates divorce must disclose their financial information while filing the papers. After a response is presented in court, the other spouse must also do a disclosure within sixty (60) days. The disclosure should include separate and community:

  • Expenses
  • Income
  • Debts
  • Property assets

Note that even if the divorcing couple agrees on all divorce issues, financial disclosures are mandatory and cannot be bypassed. This information is critical in deciding on:

  • Fair and rightful child and spousal support awards
  • Proper division of the community estate

If you’re unsure of how and what to disclose, knowledgeable Fresno divorce attorneys can guide you through the process.


What Factors Could Delay a Divorce?

Some divorces generally take longer than others because of the complexity of the issues involved. A dissolution of marriage can drag on in the following circumstances:

  • Sale of real property
  • Spousal support disagreements
  • Child custody disputes
  • Jointly owned business



However, you can opt to file a Summary Dissolution, a simplified process for couples that qualify, to complete the entire legal process faster.

You can file a Summary Dissolution in California, if:

  • You have signed an agreement dividing all community property and debts, including cars
  • You agree that none of you gets spousal support
  • None of you has separate property worth more than $45,000, excluding cars
  • The community property is worth less than $45,000, excluding cars
  • Your community debts, excluding car loans, do not exceed $6,000
  • You do not rent any buildings or land except for where you live
  • You do not own any part of a building or land
  • You did not adopt or sire any children before or during the marriage and are not expecting a child
  • The marriage lasted for five (5) years or less until the separation

Law Firm Providing Affordable and Outstanding Legal Services

Your divorce can take several months or a few years, depending on several factors. But the minimum period is six months in California. The right Fresno divorce attorney can explain your options and help accelerate the process.

Our law firm can help you finalize your divorce within your desired timelines. Contact us today to inquire how to accelerate your divorce petition in California.