A divorce, child custody proceeding, or other family law case can disrupt your daily life and cause emotional hardship for you and your loved ones. You may wonder how long it takes to resolve such matters so that you can return to your normal routine and begin the process of healing and moving forward.

How long a family law case will take to resolve depends on a range of different factors. While your family law attorney can give you a more precise estimate for your particular case, there are some general guidelines you can use to gauge a potential timeline in California.

Mandatory Waiting Periods in California Family Law Cases

One of the few certainties in a California divorce case is that your divorce will take at least six months. California law mandates that at least six months pass between the time a divorce petition is filed and the final divorce order is entered. If you and your spouse settle all issues during that time, your divorce can be granted shortly after.

In other cases, once you serve the other party with a petition requesting another kind of relief, the other party typically has 30 days to file a response. You could then seek a judgment after that period if no response is filed.

What Can Delay the Resolution of a Family Law Case?

If you and your spouse or the other party agree with one another on what you request the court to do, your case may reach its conclusion shortly after these minimum periods have passed. Otherwise, your case may require one or more hearings before the court enters its orders.

Several factors can affect how long after the minimum time periods you must wait before your case ends, including:

How Easily the Other Party Is Located

The period of 30 days that the other party has to respond begins once the other party has been served in some manner. If the other party cannot be easily located to be served, then this time will not start immediately, delaying the ultimate resolution of the case. 

The Number of Issues You Have To Resolve

Courts will routinely adopt agreements you and your spouse or ex-spouse can make regarding property division, child custody, visitation, and child support

The more issues in your case that you and the other party can reach an agreement on, the fewer issues you will have that need to be resolved by the court — and the faster your case will conclude.

Whether Differences Can Be Resolved Through Mediation

You and the other party may also try to resolve differences through dispute resolution methods, such as mediation, or by presenting evidence to the court and allowing the court to decide the matter. Mediation sessions can be scheduled quicker than court hearings, so resolving your matter efficiently often means choosing to mediate disputes.

Perhaps the most important factor in how long a family law matter takes to resolve is whether you seek professional legal aid. Consulting a seasoned San Diego family law attorney can ensure you don’t miss any important deadlines and that any documents are filed without mistakes, which could potentially delay your case. 

Additionally, any family law case is likely to involve its share of challenges and difficulties. With a dedicated advocate on your side, you will be better equipped to respond to these appropriately and swiftly.

Contact Our Family Law Firm in San Diego, CA

Contact our experienced San Diego family law lawyers at San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC today for legal assistance. Contact our San Diego office at (619) 866-3756 to schedule a free consultation.

San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC
2851 Camino del Rio S #430
San Diego, CA 92108