Divorce is a lengthy process, and it can be complicated in Los Angeles. California has a 6-month waiting period to get a divorce. This is a “cooling-off time,” during which the parties involved can reflect on whether they are making the right decision. However, during that 6-month period there is work to be done to prepare for the end of the waiting period.
During those six months, the petitioner must initiate the divorce petition, and it must be served to the other party who can then respond. Although a response is not required, it is advisable to file one. The parties then go through the disclosure process where finances must be disclosed to a mediator or attorney.
After the disclosure process, negotiations for any remaining issues can begin. Once an agreement is reached, the details of the settlement are put into a stipulated judgment or a marital settlement agreement. When you both sign off on the documents, it is submitted to the court for approval. It can take the court a few months to review the settlement before signing off on it. The minimum time for the entire process is six months, but it often takes longer if there are any disputed issues that need to be mediated or resolved.
Time Frame for Divorce If the Issues Have to be Decided in Court
If you end up on the litigation track (going to court), it takes even longer, as the courts in Los Angeles County are currently backed up. A typical divorce case with a minimum number of issues can take about two years. Still, if there are issues that are not being resolved, and motions must be filed, it could take even longer. If you end up going to trial, there will be several trial setting conferences, status conferences, settlement conferences, and other hurdles. This process can easily take two to three years or more.
Time Frame for Divorce Using Mediation
However, if you and your spouse decide to go down the Mediation track, you could be done in about seven to eight months. The average time for Mediation is nine months. Similarly, if the parties opt for Collaborative Divorce, it might take a little longer than Mediation as a Collaborative case tends to be more complex.
In conclusion, if you want to get divorced in Los Angeles County relatively quickly, you should opt for Mediation or Collaborative. It is essential to remember that a divorce can be a lengthy and complicated process, and it’s important to choose the right path and consult with an experienced attorney to navigate the process successfully.
Talk to an Experienced Los Angeles Divorce Attorney and Mediator
Lynette Kim is a Los Angeles Divorce Attorney and Mediator. Her many years of experience will help you to move through the divorce process easily and without unnecessary delays. For more information call 213-351-1000.