How Long Does A Divorce Take With Children In California?

Unlike some jurisdictions, California does not impose a longer waiting period for divorce when children are involved. Yet it still seems to many people that the divorce process takes longer when a divorcing couple has children.

At Holstrom, Block & Parke, APLC, we know there are several reasons that divorce can take longer with children. We appreciate the struggles that parents go through to protect their children’s best interests during and after the divorce process. While we know that each case comes with unique challenges and it is impossible to precisely predict how long it will take to finalize a divorce with children in California, here are some factors that affect the process.

A Divorce with Children Adds Numerous Issues That Require Resolution

Whether the terms of a divorce are established through attorney negotiation, mediation, or litigation, the process always involves developing terms for each issue. This includes how assets and debts are classified, how marital property will be divided, whether one spouse will pay alimony, and how tax consequences will be handled, and numerous other issues.

When a marriage involves children, then many additional issues will also need to be addressed and resolved, including plans for custody and child support. Not only will there be more issues requiring resolution, but they are issues that are complex and often hotly contested.

Everyone Wants to Get the Issues Right

When couples with children divorce, the outcome affects more than just the two people named in the court docket. A divorce with children impacts the lives of the children and the extended family such as grandparents. The impacts of the process and outcome will affect the children emotionally and mentally, as well as physically and financially. The stakes become extremely high, and everyone recognizes that.

For that reason, everyone involved, from parents to attorneys to court clerks wants to take extra care to make sure they get everything right. Giving extra consideration to every decision will naturally extend the process. If doubling checking figures and confirming the availability of alternatives adds to the length of each stage, then the end result is going to be a longer proceeding.

Issues Involving Children Have Both Emotional and Financial Impact

Another reason a divorce with children can take longer is that the additional issues are those with tremendous emotional and financial impact. Couples who take a reasoned, pragmatic approach to other aspects of their divorce sometimes suddenly refuse to apply logic when it comes to custody issues because they are so terrified of missing out on their children’s lives. When people react emotionally rather than addressing conflict logically, negotiations stall and issues stay unresolved.

Parenting plans affect financial standing as well as emotional wellbeing, so they can trigger a reaction that is even more visceral and hard to overcome.

The Best Interests Standards is Not Cut and Dried

Issues involving children in a California divorce are supposed to be made based on the best interests of the child. Determining what outcomes are in a child’s best interests is not a simple and straightforward determination. Courts are required to consider a wide range of factors, and parents may bring up additional issues as well. It takes considerable time to produce evidence regarding each factor, and then each one must be presented and reviewed by the court. Even if an issue is being negotiated out of court, parents generally should consider the full range of issues to discern what would be in the child’s best interests.

So How Long Does Divorce Take?

At the absolute minimum, if both spouses agree on absolutely every facet of every issue and they get their agreement written up accurately and legally, a divorce could theoretically be finalized within six months and one day. This never happens.

The average time for a divorce in California generally is generally 15 months. This includes simple divorces with short marriages and no complicating factors. Given the issues that complicate divorce when children are involved, the process can be much longer, depending largely on how long it takes for parents to reach agreement on custody and parenting plans. You can do your part to speed the process by providing information promptly when requested by your attorney, by being willing to compromise, and by working with an attorney who is dedicated to your interests rather than one who really enjoys the drama of divorce trials.

When a Divorce Involves Children, Holstrom, Block & Parke APLC Helps Find Solutions That Are Right for the Family

The divorce process sometimes has as much of an impact on children as the outcome, so it is important to consider the children’s interests all throughout proceedings. The Certified Family Law Specialists and associates at Holstrom, Block & Parke, APLC know how to effectively advance your interests while safeguarding your children. We invite you to schedule a confidential consultation to learn how we can help you protect your children in divorce.

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