Skip to content

How long does a divorce take in California?

pasadena divorce attorney


As a Pasadena divorce attorney, one of the questions I get asked the most by divorcing couples is: “how long will it take for us to get divorced after filing divorce papers?”

  • It takes 6 months or longer to be divorced in California because there is a 6-month cooling-off period. The 6 months begin on the day the Petition is served. (Read this article on: How to properly serve divorce papers in CaliforniaIn addition, jurisdiction is a factor that has to be considered.
  • However, the divorce paperwork can all be completed and processed prior to 6 months. If both spouses work together to complete their divorce, the process will be as quick or take as long as the couple wants. If the couple doesn’t work together and the case is litigated and goes in front of a judge to decide, it often takes 2 years or longer to go to trial to finish the entire divorce case depending on the complexity of the matter, how much conflict there is, and how much work the litigation/trial attorneys decide to put into the case.

What's the six-month cooling-off period?

The quickest divorce in Pasadena, where our firm Amicable Divorce Services processed all of the paperwork, was just under one week. But remember that it’s often very rare for most divorcing couples to do all of the necessary tasks that quickly. If you have a deadline to meet or if you just want to be divorced quickly, we can process all your divorce paperwork in one week. For instance, a week before the spousal support tax law took effect, a couple came into our office and wanted to complete the divorce in a week so they could benefit from the new tax law. Everyone involved committed to completing the entire process and submitting the judgment to the court a week later, by December 31. So, the Petition and Response were drafted, signed, and filed; proof of service was completed, financial disclosures fully completed, and the judgment was drafted, reviewed, revised, approved, and signed, then submitted to the court with all of the appropriate forms signed and dated. Of course, the divorce date the judge wrote on the judgment was six months later, in June, to fulfill the 6-month cooling-off period. But the judgment, which contained the couple’s spousal support agreement, was signed and dated before December 31. 

Yes, we can complete all the divorce steps in a week.

Our firm works at your pace. Based on your requirements, we can work as quickly or slowly as you’d like. Our client’s needs are a top priority, and we’ll always be honest with you if we can’t meet your scope of work.


Besides the official 6-month cooling-off period, these are the factors why divorces take so long in California:

  • When attorneys conduct formal discovery, each side may demand documents and other information, and the other might need to extend the deadlines.
  •  Couples may need a break from the process because of work, family, reconciliation, travel, health issues, or the emotional toll. These breaks can range from a few months to a couple of years.
  • If spouses disagree on property division, spousal support, child custody, and child support, the divorce will take much longer because of the back-and-forth negotiations. If lawyers are involved and the divorce is litigated, it can take more than two years to settle.
  • Procrastination: There are mandatory steps that have to be completed in a California divorce. The longer it takes to complete each step, the longer the divorce will take.
  • Cost: It can be very expensive to get divorced in California, especially if you litigate the divorce. Many couples end up taking a break from the divorce process in order to work and save for attorney fees.


As a Pasadena divorce attorney, the most straightforward advice for divorcing couples is communication. This might be difficult for some, but if you want a fast divorce in California, couples need to get along before, during, and after the divorce process starts. This article explains the necessary steps for a quick divorce in California. 

9 Steps to A Simple Divorce

find out how easy we make the divorce process

You might also be interested in these DIVORCE TIPS


how to keep divorce details confidential

Did you know there is a process in California to keep the financial and child custody details in a divorce judgment confidential? Few lawyers offer this process.


It’s 2022! Get Divorced the Smart Way

We live in a smart world, smartphones, smart TV's, smart refrigerators, smart cars, smart everything. Why aren’t people getting divorced the smart way?

How to calculate spousal support

Post: How long does a divorce take in California?


Leave a Reply