California is one of 22 states with a waiting period for no-fault divorce. Some states include mandatory counseling, exceptions for marriages with children, and other potentially confusing conditions.
The waiting period is intended for both parties to reconsider, or at least to let tensions cool while finding legal representation. The idea is that when cooler heads prevail, the results satisfy both parties for the long-term.
In California, the waiting period for divorce is six months, but what does that mean? How will it affect your proceedings?
When Does Divorce Waiting Period Begin in California?
The waiting period begins on the date that the receiving party acknowledges they have received the petition for divorce. This is not necessarily the date that the petition is filed. Six months from the date of indication of receipt is the earliest the marriage can be officially terminated.
Although the state must wait six months to legally terminate your marriage, this does not mean a judge must wait to complete your divorce. Courts could be overburdened with the number of cases assigned to them and simply cannot arrange to close your case on the exact six-month date.
Some courts can render judgement long before the waiting period expires. You could settle aspects of a case before officially terminating the marriage, such as:
If a judge closes your case, your marriage is not legally terminated until the six months are over. When that date arrives, the marriage is not “automatically” over. The date simply serves as the earliest date the divorce could be declared to be terminated.
Are There Additional Conditions to the Divorce Waiting Period?
Divorce in California also has a residency clause. To file for divorce in California, you must have lived in California for six months, and at least three months in the county in which you intend to file (you could live in separate counties).
Divorce can be a real headache for both parties, even in a no-fault situation. Knowing your state’s complications ahead of time can help you better prepare to whether the storm.