Top 5 Questions about Divorce - Part 1

How Much Does a Divorce Cost?

I’ve been thinking about what are the questions that I hear over and over again and thought I might share those. The first one that I hear every time is, “how much does a divorce cost?” I usually answer this by saying, that’s like asking how much does a car cost. It depends is the answer to both of those questions. It depends on if you are going to cooperate, if the two of you are going to go out and get attorneys and fight tooth and nail it’s going to cost more than if the two of you cooperate. Litigation will undoubtedly be the most expensive and that’s where each of you go out and get an attorney and you cooperate or not and you go before a judge and the judge makes the decisions about your issues.

The opposite of that is mediation. That’s the least expensive to where you both sit down with a mediator and work out your division of property division of assets and debts and put together a parenting plan. Now sometimes that doesn’t work. In the middle is Collaborative Law. Collaborative is a team approach so it is going to be a little more expensive than mediation but not near as expensive as litigation would be.

How Long Does Divorce Take?

The second question I hear often is “How long does a divorce take?”

In California, those who file for a divorce cannot expect their marriage to officially end earlier than six months from the date the petition is served, according to state law. That said, the fact is that no two divorce cases are alike and there is no set time for how long this process is supposed to take. It is possible your divorce can take longer, depending on the issues you are facing and on how willing both you and your spouse are to negotiating the terms of your settlement.

In California, there is a six month and one day waiting period before a divorce can be finalized. That time doesn’t start ticking until the papers have been filed with the court, have come back to the petitioner (the one who initiated the divorce), and served on the respondent. So, on the day the respondent is served, the clock begins ticking and, in six months and one day, the divorce may be finalized in California.

That doesn’t mean that divorce happens automatically. You still have to do your work. The papers have to be presented to the court so the court can approve them, but six months and one day is the soonest you can finalize a divorce in California. In mediation, we generally have all the work completed in two to three months. The paperwork then goes to the court and the court will sign the papers. But the divorce won’t be final until that six month, one day has passed.