The answer to that question lies almost exclusively with the amount of cooperation that can be achieved between the parties themselves and their respective counsel. Even the more complex cases (business interests, self-employed individuals, title disputes, custody) can be resolved in a relatively short period of time if both parties are motivated to move on with their lives.

By California law, you can be restored to the status of a single person upon the expiration of 6 months from the initiation of the action (service). If, the above situation exists, it is not uncommon for a full settlement agreement to have been negotiated, signed and submitted or ready to submit to the Court within that time frame. Certain requirements, exchange of Disclosure Statements and Income & Expense Declarations, even if there is a full agreement on all issues and what is called a Stipulated Judgment, are required before the Court will accept the agreement and enter Judgment, but they can be completed within that time frame.

Unfortunately, if either of the parties, or sometimes one of the attorneys, is less than cooperative, or has a different agenda, a contested divorce action can extend for months, even years. It is important at the outset of the action, to gather as much information (bank statements, mortgage statements, credit cards, tax returns, etc.) as possible to eliminate as much delay as possible in the event your case becomes more of a “long termer”. It is much better to be prepared for that possibility and not need all of the information gathered, than to be unprepared and have to engage in extensive discovery (the legal term for gathering information) via subpoena, depositions and the like.

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