Before getting started, it is important to make sure you understand that divorce can come in all sizes, shapes and degrees of difficulty. What may have helped some couples in California divorce quickly and easily may not apply in your own divorce. This means that while it is possible to discuss the timeline of a typical divorce, it does not mean that your own divorce will proceed exactly in this manner.

To acquire detailed information about your divorce, it is always best to talk over your issues with an attorney. Having a legal representative familiar with all the elements of your unique divorce is the best way to create as accurate a timeline as is possible. Even then, divorce issues can arise unexpectedly that might delay your proceedings.

The following divorce timeline illustrates how a case might proceed if nothing else goes wrong to stop or slow the proceedings.

  1. With attorney guidance, a spouse draws up a petition for divorce stating why divorce is necessary and how this spouse wants to settle family, financial and child-related matters.
  2. The spouse’s lawyer files the petition with the court. In turn, the court serves the divorce petition on the other spouse.
  3. The other spouse receives the served petition and is given a set amount of time to respond. This is an opportunity to agree or disagree with the terms the filing spouse set forth.
  4. At this point, each spouse must gather and submit income and property information, which the divorce court can use to determine child support, property division and other obligations.
  5. Some couples choose to or are ordered to enter into mediation in an attempt to reach a settlement outside of the court.
  6. In good scenarios, the couple reached an agreement or settlement, and the judge hands them a divorce decree.
  7. If the couple could not resolve their issues in mediation, the case may go on to trial.

Unfortunately, it is not really possible to say how long a litigated divorce may take. An important takeaway for those facing litigation is to make certain you have solid legal counsel to help you protect your rights, your kids and your property.

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