If you plan to end your marriage in Corona, California, it is natural to wonder how long the process will take. Some people want nothing more than to get the process over as quickly as possible. In contrast, others mourn the loss of their marriage and are emotionally distraught throughout their divorce proceedings. Whatever your situation entails, it’s essential to know how divorce proceedings work in California and the value of legal counsel,so you can estimate the timeline of your unique case.
California’s Mandatory Waiting Period
It’s crucial for anyone divorcing in Corona, CA, to understand the state’s mandatory waiting period. The absolute soonest your divorce could be completed is six months from when the court receives your divorce petition. California upholds this six-month waiting period to offer divorcing spouses a final chance to reconcile. Even if both spouses agree to immediate dissolution, they must complete the six-month waiting period. In most divorce cases, the actual proceedings required for finalizing the various aspects of the divorce will take longer than six months.
What Does Divorce Entail?
Every divorcing couple will have different issues to address before their divorce can be finalized. If you have concerns about how long it will take to complete your divorce, it’s vital to evaluate the issues you and your spouse must address. Divorce is more than just ending your marriage contract; it is also a legal process for establishing separate property ownership rights and assigning parental rights and responsibilities when a divorcing couple has children. Your divorce case may require you and your spouse to address:
- Property division. California upholds a community property law. This means all marital property in a marriage is subject to equal division in divorce. Your Corona divorce attorney can help you complete your financial disclosure quickly and accurately, so this aspect of your divorce case does not generate delays in your case.
- Child custody and support. Perhaps the most challenging aspect of your divorce will be determining custody and child support for your children. California generally believes that children benefit most with equal access to both parents as long as both parents are fit to assume parental responsibilities. Additionally, child custody determination directly influences child support determination and may influence property division and other financial aspects of the divorce case.
- Spousal maintenance. When one spouse earns significantly more income than the other, spousal maintenance or alimony may come into play in the couple’s divorce case. The purpose of spousal maintenance is to help the lower-earning spouse maintain a standard of living similar to what they had while married. The amount paid in spousal maintenance and the term for which payments must continuedepend on the difference in income between the spouses and the length of time their marriage lasted.
No two divorce cases are exactly alike, and you and your spouse are likely to have several issues you must address to navigate your divorce case successfully. First, your divorce timeline largely depends on the inherent complexity of your case and your mutual willingness to negotiate civilly. When spouses are intransigent in negotiations or insist on litigation, these factors can significantly increase the time required to complete the divorce.
Options for Streamlining Divorce
When most people imagine divorce, they think of emotionally charged court battles, but litigation is not the only method you can use to settle your divorce case. Many couples divorcing in Corona, CA, choose alternative dispute resolution to spare themselves the time and expense typically required for divorce litigation. Mediation, in particular, has quickly become the preferred method for handling divorce in California. This process entails private negotiation sessions under the guidance and supervision of a neutral mediator. The mediator’s job is to guide discussions and help the divorcing couple draft their divorce agreement.
Mediation generally allows a couple to complete their divorce much more quickly than litigation would allow. It’s also possible to partially complete a divorce through mediation before moving to litigation to handle the couple’s remaining issues. In some cases, this is unavoidable as certain things cannot be resolved through private mediation. Specifically, divorcing parents cannot determine child custody on their own. The court has a legal duty to ensure their children’s best interests will be protected by their custody agreement. Divorcing parents can negotiate a parenting plan in mediation, but they must submit it to a family court judge for review and approval before it can become legally binding.
It’s important to note that while divorce mediation is often a speedier alternative to divorce litigation, the divorcing couple must still complete the state’s mandatory six-month waiting period before their divorce is finalized. If the couple’s divorce mediation or litigation takes longer than six months, their divorce order can take effect immediately once they complete their proceedings. If the couple completes mediation before the six-month waiting period expires, they will essentially wait for the remaining time until their divorce order takes effect.
Why You Need a Reliable Divorce Attorney
When it comes to speeding up the timeline of your divorce, the six-month waiting period is non-negotiable. However, you can complete your divorce proceedings within this six-month time frame to ensure the fastest divorce possible under California state law. One of the most important assets to have on your side if you want to accomplish this is reliable legal counsel. An experienced Corona, CA, divorce lawyer can be instrumental in streamlining your divorce proceedings.
You can rely on your attorney for ongoing support and advice during your divorce. They can help you remain focused on your best interests and assist you in making objective decisions when you are having trouble keeping your emotional stress in check. Ultimately, every divorce will present unique challenges to those who experience the process, and it is impossible to predict exactly how any divorce case will unfold. However, the right attorney can make a tremendous difference in your experience with the California divorce system. If you are ready to discuss your divorce with an experienced Corona, CA, divorce attorney, contact the Law Offices of Catherine A. Schwartz today to schedule your consultation with our team.