Tuesday, April 22, 2008

How do I complete my divorce?

Dear Famularo & Associates:
My husband and I separated two years ago. Approximately one year ago, I filed for divorce. My husband never filed any court documents, but my divorce is still not final. We do not own anything, all the debts have been paid off, and all we have is one daughter, who he never sees. Hos much longer do I have to wait until my divorce is final? I was told the divorce would be final after six months, but it has already been way longer than that.
-BL

Dear BL:
A divorce in California requires a waiting period of six months. This simply means that six months from when your husband was served with the divorce papers you will qualify to obtain a divorce. However, the divorce does not happen automatically. It is up to you to move your case along by filing the proper paperwork at the proper stage of the proceeding.

Although you indicate that you have filed a divorce, you do not indicate whether your husband was ever served. If he was not, you need to serve him. The waiting period does not even begin to run until your husband is personally served with the divorce proceedings.

After your husband is served, you must file a proof of service with the courthouse. Your husband will have 30 days to file a Response with the court once he has been served with the divorce lawsuit. If your husband has been served and has not filed a Response, the next step is to take his default. This is simply a paper filed with the court that informs the judge that your husband will not be participating in the court proceedings.

Once the default is filed, you may obtain a divorce judgment. This is filed in court and once it is signed the terms of your divorce will become final. Since your husband will not be participating in the court proceedings, you may ask for whatever orders you desire, including sole custody of your child and child support. It is highly likely the court will make those requests the terms of the final order.
--Famularo & Associates

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