How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take in California?

Getting a divorce is an impactful decision that will more than likely alter the lives of both parties involved in significant ways. It is important to handle this decision carefully and seriously. Once the decision is made, knowing the laws that govern divorce in your state is crucial, as processes vary from state to state. California has its own divorce laws that one must follow to be granted a divorce, and a California divorce attorney can ensure you’re informed and help you through the divorce process.

Some divorces require a longer process to handle the intricacies of the terms, while others can be handled quickly if both parties are able to easily communicate and agree on the outcome.

How long does an uncontested divorce take in California?

What Is an Uncontested Divorce?

In California, divorces can be contested or uncontested. A contested divorce means that neither party has agreed on the terms of the divorce, and their divorce must be presented to a judge who will evaluate the terms, evidence, and witness statements to make a ruling.

An uncontested divorce is when both parties agree to divorce and, on the outcomes following the divorce. Because there is less work and contention involved, uncontested divorces are shorter and less expensive.

Requirements for an Uncontested Divorce Agreement

The two parties involved in an uncontested divorce often have no children and few to no assets. This does not mean that marriages with those things will always have a contested divorce, but these two issues tend to be more significant concerns that couples disagree on. However, if you and your spouse generally agree on the terms of the divorce, you’ll want to cover the following decisions in your agreement:

  • How you plan to split assets
  • How you plan to divide financial obligations
  • Spousal support
  • Child support and custody arrangements (which must follow California state law)

Once the agreement is in writing, it will then have to be notarized and submitted to the court.

The Process of an Uncontested Divorce

Once an agreement is reached, one party must submit their documents to the court and petition the court for divorce. The petition simply states that you are seeking a divorce and the grounds for filing. You will also include information regarding any dependents under 18 for whom you and your spouse care. Additional documents may be required for other issues, such as debts, assets, and other financial obligations.

There will be a fee to file the required paperwork. However, if you are unable to pay, you may request the fee to be waived.

Once the paperwork is filed, the petitioner must serve their spouse through a third-party deliverer. Once the spouse being served responds, the judge will approve the terms and grant a divorce judgment, considering all terms have already been granted by both parties. However, a judge can deny the request if the terms drastically favor one party or if one party did not have the free ability to agree to the terms (such as being under duress).

How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take in California?

Once the filing party officially notifies their spouse, it will take approximately six months for an uncontested divorce to be finalized due to California’s mandatory six-month waiting period. Notification to the spouse must be served through the courthouse. Bear in mind that it is possible for the divorce to take longer than six months, especially if any paperwork is improperly filed.


Q: How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce in California if Both Parties Agree?

A: Typically speaking, it can take a minimum of six months to get a finalized divorce if both parties agree. Both parties must first reach an agreement, put it in writing, and have it notarized. One party will then file for the divorce, and the person being served has 30 days to respond. Once they respond, a six-month waiting period begins. If they do not respond, additional steps will have to be taken.

Q: Does California Have a Mandatory Waiting Period for Uncontested Divorce?

A: In the state of California, the mandatory waiting period is six months. This waiting period gives both parties the freedom to reconsider the divorce if they so choose. Even if one or both parties have no plans or desires for reconciliation, there is no way to speed up the six-month process. Married couples are free to separate during this time, but they will not legally be restored to single status until the six months have been completed.

Q: Can a Divorce Be Finalized Without Both Signatures in California?

A: In California, both parties must be able and willing to sign in order to be considered an uncontested divorce. However, the divorce can still be finalized. You must wait 30 days after your spouse has been served for them to respond. After 30 days, if the spouse has not responded, you can file a dissolution by default. If the terms have already been agreed to by both parties, a judge will likely grant the divorce.

Q: Do I Have to Go to Court for Uncontested Divorce in California?

A: In a contested divorce, it is possible that you will not have to go to court. At times, a judge can review the paperwork and grant the divorce through the mail. Other times, a judge may require a hearing in person. This is something that varies depending on the case, so be prepared for a potential court appearance.

Contact Paula D. Kleinman, a Professional Law Corporation

Uncontested divorces are usually the most cost-effective way to get a divorce. They are also emotionally and psychologically easier on all parties involved. Although it can be an easy process, it is still recommended that you seek legal representation.

An attorney can ensure that all your paperwork is filed correctly and on time. They can also be there for any unexpected changes that may happen, as contention or complications could arise during the long process. An attorney can help you navigate any challenges, protect your interests, and advocate on your behalf.

No matter how simple the legal process is, it can still be a challenging time. An attorney can help alleviate the burden for you. If you would like to begin the process of an uncontested divorce, contact Paula D. Kleinman, a Professional Law Corporation, today to discuss your situation.

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