Carlsbad Family Law Attorneys

Why Do You Have to Wait 6-Months to Divorce in California?

Carlsbad, CA – You and your spouse have decided that your marriage is over and divorce is the only option. When you pledge to spend the rest of your life with a person only to have your marriage abruptly come to an end, the time can be very traumatic for even the most even-keeled type of person. Therefore, you may want to get the divorce over with quickly, like ripping off a band-aid. The quicker the process, the better for you, your spouse, and any children that may be involved.

You may become dismayed to learn, then, that California requires couples to wait at least six months before the divorce can be finalized.

But, why six months?

The Reason Couples Must Wait to be Divorced

Known as a mandatory waiting period, California law states that you can submit all the required paperwork and have your divorce approved, but the divorce cannot be finalized until the six-month period is up. This ruling originates from Family Code section 2339(a), which states that “Subject to subdivision (b) and to Sections 2340 to 2344, inclusive, no judgment of dissolution is final for the purpose of terminating the marriage of the parties until six months have expired from the date of service of a copy of summons and petition or the date of appearance of the respondent, whichever occurs first.”

According to San Diego divorce attorney John Griffith of Griffith,  Young, and Lass, the six-month waiting period is also known as the “cooling off” period. He said, “The six-month mandatory period is set in place to give couples a chance to stop the divorce process and reconcile, if they choose to do so.”

Griffith added that the couple doesn’t have to be separated for six months, and in fact, there is no separation requirement for couples filing for divorce in the state of California. Furthermore, the couple could still be living together when they file the divorce proceeding.

When Does the Clock Start Ticking?

In non-legalese, the six-month period will begin the moment the Summons or Petition is served on the other spouse, or the other spouse makes an appearance in court, whichever comes first. Keep in mind that an appearance doesn’t necessarily mean that the other spouse has to physically appear in front of the judge. Rather, appearance refers to the level of participation. For more information regarding this matter, it is important to retain the services of experienced counsel, as divorce proceedings can become complicated quickly.

Filing the Proper Paperwork is Not Enough

This also means that you can’t just file the paperwork and hope to wait out the six months. You need the other party to participate. Now, while the six-month period cannot be shortened, it can be extended, according to the Family Code section 2339(b), as long as there is a good cause.

Family Code section 2339(b) states that “The court may, upon notice and for good cause shown, or on stipulation of the parties, retain jurisdiction over the date of termination of the marital status, or may order that the marital status be terminated at a future specified date. On the date of termination of the marital status, the parties are restored to the status of unmarried persons.”

That means that the Judge can extend the divorce waiting period if the other spouse agrees or both spouses agree that the marriage’s status for termination should be extended. The good cause reasons may vary from case to case.

Terminating the Marriage After 6-Months

Just because California requires a mandatory six-month waiting period on divorce does not mean that the divorce is automatically granted by the time those six months are up. For the divorce to be properly dissolved and for both parties to be returned to unmarried status, the Judge will need to make a proper judgment that is signed by the court.

Keep in mind that the judgment may end the marriage’s status without resolving all the other divorce issues, like child support, debt, and custody issues, under certain circumstances.

Seeking the Advice of an Experienced Divorce Attorney

It is not advisable to navigate the oftentimes complex issues that can arise during a divorce proceeding all by yourself, even if your divorce is amicable in nature. An experienced divorce attorney can help you resolve your divorce after the six-month period while obtaining a fair judgment in your case.

To learn more about California family law as it pertains to divorce, contact the experienced attorneys at Griffith, Young, and Lass.

© 2017 Millionairium and Griffith, Young & Lass. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Millionairium and Griffith, Young & Lass are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.

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  • John N. Griffith, Esq., CFLS
  • Catie E. Young, Esq., CFLS
  • Amy J. Lass, Esq., CFLS
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  • Eric Cowdery, Esq.
  • Jeffrey Wittliff, Esq.
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  • John N. Griffith, Esq., CFLS John N. Griffith, Esq., CFLS

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    John Griffith has practiced exclusively in the area of family law since 2009. John is a Certified Family Law Specialist certified as an expert in the area of family law by the California Board of Legal Specialization. Prior to opening Griffith, Young & Lass, he worked as the managing partner of one of the largest family law firms in North County San Diego.
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    Catie E. Young excels in child custody cases and move-away trials. She has a unique approach to child custody cases and clients of Griffith, Young & Lass tend to gravitate toward her in these cases. Since joining the firm, she has continuously brought her zeal and compassion to representing clients in child custody and domestic violence cases, and in December 2011, she became a partner at Griffith, Young & Lass.
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  • Amy J. Lass, Esq., CFLS Amy J. Lass, Esq., CFLS

    Partner

    Amy Lass, a certified family law specialist, was born in New York and raised in San Diego, California. Amy graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 2003 with a B.S. in Economics with a concentration in Enterprise Accounting. Amy went on to earn her law degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law and graduated cum laude in 2006.
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  • Shirin Asgari, Esq. Shirin Asgari, Esq.

    Associate

    Attorney Shirin Asgari has a broad spectrum of legal experience and has handled matters in family law, criminal law, business law, and national security law. Currently, she focuses on family law matters and is a strong advocate for the rights of her clients. She dedicates time and attention to the needs of each client and the unique circumstances their case presents.
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  • Eric Cowdery, Esq. Eric Cowdery, Esq.

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    Eric Cowdery earned his bachelor’s and Master’s degrees before earning his JD from Golden Gate University as part of the Honors Lawyering Program. He was admitted to the California Bar Association in 2013 and has been working diligently in the field ever since. Taking a personalized approach to each case, Eric Cowdery is committed to working with clients to help them through the often confusing and complex legal process of divorce.

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  • Jeffrey Wittliff, Esq. Jeffrey Wittliff, Esq.

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    Jeffrey Wittliff is extremely attentive to his cases and believes in thorough preparation and the value of regular client communication. Behind the scenes, he has an extensive background in research related to all areas of family law, propounding discovery when necessary, and negotiation to settle cases with opposing parties.
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  • Joshua Yee, Esq. Joshua Yee, Esq.

    Associate

    Attorney Joshua Yeereceived his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, from the University of California, San Diego. Joshua went on to receive his Juris Doctor degree from University of San Francisco. His experience working with a local Certified Family Law Specialist solidified his desire to become a family law attorney. Since becoming an attorney, Josh has exclusively practiced in family law.
    Joshua  Yee, Esq. Photo
  • Shaudi Malekzadeh, Esq. Shaudi Malekzadeh, Esq.

    Associate

    Shaudi Malekzadeh is a Carlsbad family law attorney at Griffith, Young & Lass, advocating for the rights and interests of Southern California families in a variety of family law cases, such as child custody, alimony, spousal support, and the division of community property. She is committed to delivering effective legal representation to our clients, aggressively advocating for their legal rights, and offering compassionate legal advice.
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