Yes and no. Every divorce in California is subject to the “6-month rule” as required by law. This cannot be reduced by a private judge. However, using a private judge can help to significantly reduce the amount of time that it takes to get a divorce finalized after the 6 months have passed. Using the private judge option can be also be extremely valuable in providing predictability and control over when your divorce will be final!
The “6-month rule” means that under California law, your divorce cannot be finalized, and you cannot be returned to the status of a single person, until a minimum of six months and one day have passed from the time your spouse is either served with a Petition and Summons, or the service requirement is otherwise met (speak to a Divorce Helpline attorney about how to avoid personal service of documents. In an amicable divorce setting, this is often recommended). However, because of the strain on the court system in California and the budget issues which have only worsened that strain, it can often take much longer to navigate a divorce through the courts, sometimes as much as one year from the time an agreement is reached and your final documents are submitted to the court for final approval. Using a private judge allows you to bypass the majority of the processing of paperwork with the courts and waiting for a judge of the Superior Court to get around to your file, which can reduce this timeframe to about one month. Knowing and controlling when your divorce is final is desired by many people, especially for those who would benefit by having their divorce final by the end of any given calendar year.
A private judge can also help you resolve issues and provide a legally binding decision that will be filed with the court. This can be done in a matter of days or weeks, not months or years.
The private judge option can be a valuable one, but it’s not necessary for all situations. If you are at all curious about whether your situation would benefit from this option, contact Divorce Helpline for a no obligation evaluation by one of our attorneys.