Is A One Day Divorce Possible? Well, Sort Of.
Getting divorced is often complicated, and because of that it usually takes longer than many people expect for their divorce to be finalized. Some divorces, however, require only a bare minimum of legal processing due to the nature of the separation. In those specific cases, certain counties in California have created a One Day Divorce Program to help.
Unfortunately, the term “one day divorce” is a bit misleading. It is legally impossible to file and complete an entire divorce in one day because California law requires all married couples to wait six months after filing for divorce before the dissolution of their marriage can be finalized.
So what’s really going on with a one day divorce?
California One Day Divorce Program
A few years ago, Sacramento County implemented a One Day Divorce Program. The description on the court’s website reads:
The One Day Divorce Program helps low-income, self-represented litigants complete their dissolutions of marriage and obtain final judgments in one day. Volunteer attorneys and law students partner with the litigants to prepare all of the paperwork necessary for the final judgments. The litigants then appear before the judge and have their judgments entered on the record. Litigants leave with a final judgment in hand. Two days per month, the court provides assistance to cooperative couples or single parties whose spouses have defaulted to complete their divorces in one day.
While it sounds great in theory, there are a few important requirements that couples wanting to use this program must meet before being eligible.
One Day Divorce Requirements
To participate in the One Day Divorce Program, couples must:
- Have already filed for divorce
- Waited the mandatory six months
- Meet the program’s income requirements
- Be self-represented (not have an attorney)
- Agree on all major issues, like division of property, spousal support, child custody, etc.
If a couple meets all those requirements, then they can take advantage of the One Day Divorce Program. They must be prepared to spend a full day in court working with their assigned volunteer attorneys and law students. When their case is called, a judge will provide a final judgement and officially dissolve the marriage.
Is A One Day Divorce A Good Idea?
The One Day Divorce Program was created with very specific goals and types of couples in mind. Chances are, if you meet the requirements for participating in the program, it’s probably one of the best options for you.
For most couples however, trying to handle a marriage without legal assistance or representation is not a good idea. Also, if there are any disagreements about division of assets, spousal support, child custody, or other aspects of the divorce, than each spouse will need an attorney to represent them.
It is not uncommon for contentious divorces to take at least a year, and often several, before a final judgement is given and the marriage is officially dissolved.
If you’re considering a divorce, but aren’t sure if you should try and use the One Day Divorce Program or hire an attorney, we would strongly recommend speaking with a divorce attorney first, and then making a decision based on their evaluation of your case.
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