How Long Does Divorce Take?


From the moment one spouse files a divorce petition in court and serves the other spouse with it, six months have to pass before the marriage can legally end.  Even if both divorcing spouses complete everything they have to do and file all paperwork in one day, they would still have to wait for six months before they can consider themselves and tell the world that they are single again.


Many people resent that the State of California imposes a six months “cooling off period” on its citizens.  But the six months delay is nothing compared to what some divorcing spouses put themselves through when they cannot make decisions together and have to go to court and get a judge to decide for them.  A mediation usually takes 10-20 hours depending on case complexity–children, property, business, etc.  After that you can occupy yourself with relaxing and planning your single life as you wait out six months.  If you cannot agree and have to go to a judge, it could take years of fighting.

Ironically, tens of thousands of dollars and one or more years later, most cases actually settle in the end.  When people see what damage they have suffered, both financially and in terms of stress, they stop fighting.  On might wonder why they did not settle earlier.  We should not judge people who have been stuck in the divorce court for years.  It is hard to avoid the fight because the legal system is set up to encourage conflict and anger is very seductive.

The Sane Divorce