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How Long After Mediation Is Divorce Final in California?

Feb 16, 2024 | Divorce Mediation

Going through a divorce can be an unpleasant and stressful experience for the individuals involved. As such, it’s understandable to want your divorce to be finalized as quickly as possible. Mediation is a solution that can simplify the process of a divorce because it allows the separated couple to settle the terms of their divorce out of court.

How Long After Mediation Is Divorce Final in California?

The time it takes for the courts to finalize a divorce varies, but there is a minimum waiting period. The shortest amount of time required for a divorce to be finalized in California is at least six months plus one day after one or both parties officially file a petition for divorce. Working with a Santa Barbara divorce mediation lawyer can lead to a divorce becoming finalized by the end of this six-month waiting period and help you avoid a drawn-out divorce process.

What Is Mediation for Divorce?

A mediator is a professional who helps resolve conflicts between two parties in a neutral and objective manner. A divorce mediator focuses on helping individuals who are ending their marriage come to an agreement about what to do with their property. California adheres to community property law when it comes to divorces, meaning community property and obligations for repaying shared debt are divided 50/50 between the parties involved in a divorce.

Whereas litigation is the process of resolving disputes in court with a judge making the final decision about the division of a divorcing couple’s assets, mediation happens outside of court. The goal of a divorce mediator is to facilitate negotiations between the divorcing individuals and help them collaborate in order to come to a mutual agreement about the division of their assets. The divorce agreement is ultimately owned by the divorcing individuals, not the mediator.

How long after mediation is divorce final in California?

Does Divorce Mediation Work?

For divorce mediation to work, the divorcing individuals must be willing to negotiate and compromise about the division of their property and custody of any minor children they may have together. Divorces can be tense situations, but it’s important for separated couples going through divorce mediation to keep in mind that being spiteful and unreasonable or unwilling to negotiate could lead to a lengthy and unnecessarily expensive divorce process for both parties.

Once the divorcing individuals come to an agreement about the division of their communal property and custody of any minor children, they must submit their divorce agreement officially in writing to the court. When a judge reviews and approves the agreement, the divorce becomes finalized. In California, you do not have to be present in court for the judge to finalize your divorce.

How to Prepare for Divorce Mediation in California

When you go to a mediator, you must be prepared to discuss all aspects of your finances and community property. In California, community property is defined as property or assets gained during the course of a marriage and prior to separation unless one of the parties received the property as a gift or by inheritance.

Mediation typically requires multiple sessions. The number of mediation sessions required to come to a divorce agreement will depend on the amount of community property a divorcing couple shares and their willingness to negotiate. Your divorce can be finalized faster if you’re prepared to discuss all aspects of your finances in an objective manner and negotiate during mediation sessions.

Before you begin divorce mediation, you’ll need to gather the financial documents of all your community property and your personal finances. Examples of the documents you might need to provide during divorce mediation include:

  • Pay stubs and tax returns.
  • Copies of your vehicle titles.
  • Credit card and bank statements.
  • Mortgage statements.
  • Copies of the deed to your home or investment properties.
  • Statements of your retirement accounts.

Coming to your first divorce mediation session with all of the required financial documents can help simplify the divorce process and lead to your divorce being finalized sooner.


Q: How Do I Know When My Divorce Is Final in California?

A: When a judge reviews your divorce agreement and approves the terms of your divorce, you will receive the divorce decree. The divorce decree is proof of the judgment in writing. Receiving the divorce decree means your divorce is final. To check on the status of your divorce, contact the courthouse where your petition for divorce was filed.

Q: What Is a Final Step for a Divorce in California?

A: One of the last steps for finalizing a divorce in California is submitting the necessary legal forms. If you came to an agreement about the terms of your divorce, which is known as an uncontested divorce, you must submit your signed agreement for the judge to review. If you were not able to come to an agreement and want to settle in court, you will need to request a trial.

Q: How Long Does Divorce Mediation Take in California?

A: Divorce mediation in California can require multiple sessions that might occur over the span of several months or years, depending on the complexity of the divorce. Mediation could take longer for those with more property and assets. The mediation process can be faster and smoother when both parties are willing to negotiate, are honest about their finances, and refrain from hostile or aggressive behavior during mediation sessions.

Q: How Long Does It Take to Finalize a Divorce in California if Both Parties Agree?

A: Even if both parties agree, the minimum amount of time it takes for a divorce to be finalized in California is six months plus one day from the date the petition for divorce was filed with the court. Working with a professional divorce mediator can help you come to a divorce agreement faster and simplify the process of your divorce. Divorce mediation can help you avoid the expense and stress of settling the terms of your divorce in court.

Contact an Experienced Santa Barbara Divorce Mediation Lawyer

The process of divorce can be daunting and stressful, but the process can be simplified when you work with a knowledgeable divorce mediation attorney. The lawyers at Drury Pullen Law have experience helping divorcing individuals in California come to an agreement about the terms of their divorce through mediation. Contact us today to request a consultation.

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