How Long Does an Orange County Divorce Take to Finalize?

orange-county-divorceDivorce in Orange County is full of stigma. Incomes tend to be higher than the national average, which makes asset division all the more difficult. And if you add high levels of conflict to that mix, divorce litigation can take years to finalize. 

This begs the question: what’s the average timeline for an Orange County divorce – and what are your alternatives? Get your answers here, and visit our firm’s website to see how we can help you reach finalization in a quicker manner.


Average Orange County Divorce Timelines

A divorce in Orange County takes at least six months to reach finalization – from the date one spouse served divorce papers to the other, or when the recipient responded. However, even if your divorce hearings and proceedings have ended, the family court judge still has to sign a Judgment of Dissolution, alongside a number of additional steps and documentation – which can take far longer than six months in contentious situations. 

Keep in mind that the six-month timeline is the absolute minimum. Divorce, especially an Orange County divorce, can take years to finalize. At the maximum, divorce in California can take up to five years to finalize, since divorce petitions expire after that period. But if your marriage meets a handful of conditions, you can expedite the process.


Do You Qualify for Summary Dissolution?

Under certain circumstances, you can opt for a quicker and easier route of divorce through summary dissolution. While these are rarely used, neither you nor your spouse will be required to attend family court, though there are some prerequisites that must be met. Firstly, you must’ve been married for no more than five years, and have no children. You also can’t have owned land or rented together for more than a year, or incurred debt upwards of $6,000 during the marriage. There are a few more requirements to keep in mind:

  • Not owning any marital property over $40,000
  • Not owning separate property over $40,000
  • Establish an agreement for marital property division
  • Must agree that neither spouse will receive alimony

However, seeing as this is a sparsely used method of divorce, we’d recommend considering a few other options to dissolve your marriage. 


If Not, Try Divorce Mediation

If you’ve been married for over five years, have children together, or fail to meet any of the other summary dissolution requirements, don’t panic. There are still a number of ways to carry through to finalization without lengthy litigation, such as legal separation, collaborative divorce, and divorce mediation. For a list of alternative divorce solutions and their family benefits, visit our recent blog

To sum it up, traditional divorce in Orange County can take six months at minimum, and up to five years in the most contentious of cases. But if your marriage meets the standards for summary dissolution, that timeline can be significantly shortened – and if those requirements aren’t met, there are a handful of alternatives to litigation. 


Finalize Faster with a Settlement-Minded Mediator

Divorce is an emotional journey to endure. On top of the bitterness and anger which often result from a formal separation, the subsequent legal battles tend to make the whole process even more painful. At the Law Offices of Jennifer Owens, we revel in the power of choice. When spouses face divorce, they’re presented with a slew of decisions with a handful of potential outcomes. Our attorneys are believers in the best possible outcome, where a former couple chooses peace over destruction, so that they can finally move on to their next chapter. We can help with that. No matter your desired path – divorce mediation, a negotiated settlement, or even litigation – The Law Offices of Jennifer Owens will achieve the best possible outcome by reaching a settlement that keeps all involved parties in mind. Visit our website to review our family law services or contact us online for a free consultation

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