Your husband has crossed a line. Whether he cheated, lied or was abusive, you just want to end your marriage NOW. However, a divorce in California always takes a minimum of six months. This is because California divorce law requires a "waiting period." The waiting period is supposed to give married spouses a chance to change their mind about going through with the divorce. 

The waiting period for a California divorce begins once the divorce papers are filed and served. It does not begin at separation.

During the six-month waiting period, spouses must come to an agreement about the division of property and assets, child custody, and support.  If the spouses can agree, the divorce can become final at the end of the six months. In fact, the spouses can prepare and finalize a divorce judgment before the six month waiting period expires. During this time, the terms of the agreement are binding, but neither spouse is free to remarry until the end of the six-month waiting period.

If the spouses cannot agree, either spouse can request a court hearing at the end of the six months. In this case you may request to "bifurcate the status" of the marriage any time after the end of the six month waiting period. The court will declare you divorced, but you will still have to resolve the remaining issues of property division, child custody, and support. Bifurcations are not common and are usually only used if the divorce is complicated and one spouse has plans to remarry.

Our San Francisco women-only divorce attorneys urge you to speak with a divorce lawyer about your situation. Hurrying through a divorce can mean giving up child custody, visitation rights, or financial assets. Make sure your interests are protected. Request a free copy of What Every Woman in California Should Know About Divorce, or contact the Law Offices of Paul H. Nathan at 415-341-1144.

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