The minimum time it takes for a divorce to be finalized in California is six months from the date that the Petition is served on the Respondent. Serving the Petition gives formal legal notice to your spouse that you have filed papers with the court. That means if you wish to be divorced by the end of this year, you will need to have completed this step by June 30.
You will also have to have met the residency requirements, which require one of you to have lived in California for at least six months. You also need to have lived for at least three months in the county where you are filing for divorce.
So why is the June 30th deadline important? For many people, the answer is taxes. Your tax filing status is determined primarily by your marital status on the last day of the tax year, December 31. Being able to file as “single” or “head of household” may save you money in state or federal taxes. You can learn more about tax implications of your marital status in this article.
In other instances, the divorce process may have stalled, and having a deadline with concrete implications may provide the impetus to move forward.
If you hope to finalize your divorce by the end of the year, and you have not yet filed and served your Petition on your spouse, we urge you to contact us immediately. We can help you understand the steps you need to take in order to meet the June 30 deadline. Call Divorce Helpline at 1-800-359-7004.