How Long It Takes To Serve Divorce Papers

You want to know how long it takes to serve divorce papers. When someone gets a divorce, it is the end of their marriage. The process can take some time before it ends. A court will usually ask both spouses to complete the process within a reasonable period so that no one is disadvantaged by the timing of the proceedings.

After all, you don’t want to create even more tension in your home and family by unnecessarily prolonging the process.  The process starts with filing an Affidavit of Support or Legal Separation under Family Code Section 6203. This paperwork alone takes up to ten days to be completed — not including other formalities required by the court like fingerprints and photographs, which may take several more days per person. If you plan on staying with housemates after separation, then a separate affidavit for each cohabitant should also be filed.

Once these papers have been filed, your spouse will be served with documents and asked for responses for at least 16 court days before the court date.

This time frame varies per state, and some states may require additional information from you before they can proceed with service. However, most courts do not schedule hearings or complicate matters by asking you to appear in person every few weeks if there is no change in circumstances during that period.

What is a Divorce?

How Long It Takes To Serve Divorce Papers

A divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage. A divorce may be granted based on no-fault grounds, fault grounds, or no grounds. No-fault divorces are granted when the parties do not agree on the grounds for the divorce. Some states require that one party be at least 18 years of age when filing for divorce.

While there are certain reasons for which a person can file for divorce, the most common ones include incompatibility, extreme mental or physical cruelty, irreconcilable differences and the breakdown of the family unit.

What Happens While Divorce Papers Are Being Processed

If you have filed for divorce and your spouse has not complied, the court will issue a “show cause” order. The order will be addressed to your spouse and will order him/her to show cause as to why the divorce should not be granted. Once your spouse receives the order, you must call the court to inform them that your spouse has been served.

In most cases, the divorce will proceed while your spouse is “in default.” In other words, the court will not grant the divorce until the other party files the paperwork to indicate they wish to end the marriage. If your spouse does not file the paperwork, the court will grant the divorce and will not wait for your spouse to file.

Why Is It Taking So Long To Process a Divorce Paper?

Your divorce papers are filed with the court, and the spouse receives the papers and is served with them. Your spouse has 30 days to respond. The court reviews the papers and sets a hearing date. If your spouse fails to appear at the hearing, the court will grant your divorce without waiting for the 30 days to run again. You will receive a notice from the court that the divorce was final and was not required to be reissued.

How Long It Takes To Serve Divorce Papers

A six-day Affidavit of Support or Legal Separation must be filed before family court to initiate the divorce process. Other formalities, such as fingerprints and photographs, may take several days to complete.

If you plan on staying with housemates after separation, then a separate affidavit for each cohabitant should also be filed. Once these papers have been filed, your spouse will be served with documents and asked for responses for at least another 30-60 days. 

This time frame varies per state, and some states may require additional information from you before they can proceed with service. However, most courts do not schedule hearings or complicate matters by asking you to appear in person every few weeks if there is no change in circumstances during that period.

Final Word

When you file for a divorce or annulment, you are not just filling out paperwork or ending a marriage. It is a major life decision that can have far-reaching consequences, especially in the weeks, months, and years ahead. The legal process of divorce is often long and complicated.

The average divorce case can take two to five years to be finalized. You can expect an end to joint financial accounts when your divorce is final. Such as tax returns, retirement savings, and bank accounts. You can also expect to see property distributed between the two of you. The final dissolution of any joint debts.

After a divorce is finalized, neither party can remarry without obtaining the other’s consent. If you are considering a divorce but are reluctant to proceed, you can ask for a “non-binding” prenuptial agreement. This contract lays out certain terms and limits. One spouse can receive gains from the other in a potential future divorce.

Sometimes, a prenuptial agreement can be used to legally protect certain assets. Such as your family home, from being taken by your ex-spouse should the two of you later divorce.

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