Can You Stop the Divorce Process in California After the Waiting Period?

By Teo Spengler

California law mandates that the divorce process take at least six months, and this waiting period does not begin until your spouse is officially served with the divorce petition. The waiting period may be inconvenient for those in a hurry to put their marriages behind them, but it gives the parties time for reconsideration. If you change your mind about finalizing the separation before or after the six-months, you can stop the divorce process in several different ways.

California law mandates that the divorce process take at least six months, and this waiting period does not begin until your spouse is officially served with the divorce petition. The waiting period may be inconvenient for those in a hurry to put their marriages behind them, but it gives the parties time for reconsideration. If you change your mind about finalizing the separation before or after the six-months, you can stop the divorce process in several different ways.

Triggering the Waiting Period

California divorces are no-fault divorces. That means that if you wish to terminate your marriage, you need not show that you were a victim of your spouse's violence, infidelity or even bad manners. A claim of irreconcilable differences is sufficient. You initiate a divorce by filing a petition and supporting papers with the Superior Court in your county of residence or your spouse's. When a sheriff or third party serves the court papers on your spouse, it triggers the mandated six-month waiting period.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Time Frame

Some people file for divorce in California expecting their marriage to end exactly 180 days after their divorce papers are served. But this is not the case. The six-month period provides a minimum term before which a divorce cannot be granted but California divorces can and often do take far longer. Serving a petition for divorce is only the first of many steps you must undertake before the court will sign your divorce judgment. You are entitled to a divorce either when all of your paperwork is complete or after six months, whichever comes later.

Paperwork Requirements

Failure to complete your divorce paperwork will stop your divorce proceeding. Whether or not your husband responds to your petition, you are required to file certain documents, including income, asset and debt disclosures, a judgment form and notice of entry of judgment. If your spouse doesn't respond at all, you must also file documents asking the court to enter his default. If you fail to file any of these forms, the court will not enter a divorce judgment. Continued inaction will ultimately lead the court to dismiss the petition for divorce whether or not the six-month waiting period has passed.

Request for Dismissal

You don't have to wait for the court to dismiss your petition on its own initiative to stop your divorce proceeding. As the party who brought the petition for divorce, you can file a Request for Dismissal at any point before judgment is entered irrespective of the six-month waiting period. Once the court receives a proof of service establishing that your spouse was served with your dismissal request, it will dismiss the petition of divorce and terminate the divorce proceeding. If your spouse filed a response, he must also sign the dismissal request. Find the forms on the court website or through an online legal form provider.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Default Judgments in Kansas in a Divorce

References

Resources

Related articles

Types of Pleadings in a Divorce

Like any legal matter, divorces can generate reams of paperwork. It can be a bit overwhelming, especially when terminology and requirements vary from state to state. The good news is that most states follow similar guidelines for pleadings. The bad news is that individual states sometimes call the same pleadings by different names.

Divorce Without Two Signers

If your spouse objects to a divorce and has stated that he will not sign any papers, it is still possible to end the marriage. In such instances, the spouse requesting the divorce will first need to prepare the paperwork and attempt to engage her spouse in the proceedings. Although a divorce with only one signer can be more time consuming than a divorce in which both spouses participate, it will still have the same effect — dissolution of the marriage.

Can an Inmate Be Served Divorce Papers While in Prison in California?

California divorces follow the same general process whether a spouse is jailed or free. An inmate is not treated differently from any other defendant, as far as divorce is concerned. However, serving your incarcerated spouse with divorce papers, restraining orders or other legal documents requires the cooperation of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

What if My Wife Defaults in a Divorce in California?

It takes two to tango, but only one to divorce in California. A spouse properly served with divorce papers cannot ...

Petitioners Rights in a Divorce

Filing for divorce is often an individual's first encounter with the court process, which can be a daunting experience ...

The Retraction of a Divorce Filing

A divorce is not finalized until a judge signs off on the divorce decree and grants a final judgment in the case. Until ...

How Can a Petitioner Drop a Divorce?

If you file for divorce and later change your mind, you can ask the court to drop the case. The legal term for this ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED