How Long Does a Contested Divorce Take in California?

How Long Does a Contested Divorce Take in California?

December 11, 2020

When a divorce is uncontested, it means that both parties agree to their separation and they can work together enough to get through the process. On average, an uncontested divorce takes about six months in the state of California. However, what happens when a divorce is complicated and both spouses have more to work out before they finish the divorce process?

Contested divorces can take a long time no matter what state they are in. Depending on the issues that are part of a contested divorce, one can take months or even years to finalize. Some contested divorces only take slightly longer than uncontested ones while others can require multiple court visits, negotiations, and other lengthy processes.

What Makes Contested Divorces Take Longer?

Contested divorces take longer because they require court hearings and a free judge. Ultimately, a divorce case is at the mercy of a judge’s schedule. As a result, the more issues a divorce has, the longer it can take to work through due to the availability of court dates.

Issues that make contested divorce take longer include:

For contested divorces, there’s a process that contributes to how long one will take. Generally speaking, this process has seven steps.

Contested divorce steps include:

  • Attorney meetings
  • Serving divorce papers
  • Waiting for a response (up to 30 days)
  • Discovery
  • Settlement
  • Court
  • Post-trial & appeals

As mentioned above, the length of a contested divorce depends on its specifics. If parties are unable to settle, the process will take significantly longer. Once a judge decides on the details of a divorce, each party has 30 days to appeal it. After an appeal, the other side has up to 30 days to counter it. After this, a judge will make a final decision. If an appeal is successful, the divorce process will go back to the court phase.

Divorce Shouldn’t Be Focused on Speed

If you’re going through an uncontested divorce, speed should be your last priority. A divorce has the potential to affect the rest of your life, making being patient and thorough critical to the process. One of the best ways to make sure your contested divorce is being handled in a way that protects your interests is by hiring a contested divorce lawyer.

While hiring a lawyer doesn’t guarantee the outcome of your divorce, it does place a trained and experienced professional in your corner for the process. At Edgar & Dow, our mission is to help clients get a fair result in their divorce. We dedicate the resources required to help people find a resolution for legal issues through every step of the process. While we’re skilled negotiators, we’re also ready to defend your interests in court.

Call us today to find out if we’re the right divorce law firm for you. A member of our team is ready to talk when you call (888) 251-9618.


The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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