Why Is There A Waiting Period For Divorce In California?

Why Is There A Waiting Period For Divorce In California?

by Nov 28, 2018Divorce

Many couples in California are surprised to find out that when they file for divorce, there is a mandatory six month waiting period before their divorce can be finalized. There are no ways to legally shorten or circumvent this requirement, either. But why does this requirement exist in the first place?

All States Have A Waiting Period…

There is actually a mandated waiting period between filing and finalizing a divorce in all fifty states. Some are very short, like Nevada (14-28 days), while most others vary between 30-90 days.

Some states, like North Carolina, require that couples who file for a no-fault divorce be separated for at least one year before the divorce can be finalized.

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…But California’s Is The Longest

While different states have different requirements and stipulations regarding divorce, California has the longest waiting period by a fairly wide margin.

As a practical matter, all waiting periods serve as a “cooling off” period that is supposed to give couples enough time to reflect and make sure that a divorce is really what they want. The reasoning behind California’s lengthy requirement is that the state seeks to ensure that both parties are firmly committed to ending their marriage or partnership.

A longer waiting period is also thought to be more conducive to spouses having the opportunity to gain perspective and possibly pursue reconciliation.

What To Do While You Wait

There are many things spouses can do while during the waiting period for divorce. If possible, couples trying to expedite their divorce should work to resolve as many of the most important issues a divorce creates as possible, such as:

  • Division of assets
  • Child custody
  • Child support
  • Spousal support

Resolving these issues during the waiting period (which is possible, but often difficult) means that when the six month timer expires, the divorce can be finalized immediately. Working with an experienced divorce attorney can also make the process much smoother and prepare each spouse for all of the various legal hurdles they’ll need to clear before their divorce is complete.


At Vonder Haar Law Offices, we offer every client a free phone consultation to discuss their unique situation and determine how we can help. To arrange a consultation, please fill out the adjacent form or call us at: (707) 529-3200.

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