Q: “It’s November. Can I still get a divorce this year? If not, is there anything I can do to formally separate our property, earnings and accounts to prepare to start fresh in the New Year?”
A: If you haven’t already begun the divorce process, you won’t be able to get divorced this calendar year due to California’s 6-month waiting period. BUT, there are plenty of things you can do now to get a head start on your fresh start in the New Year.
WATCH: Hello Divorce CEO Erin Levine explains your options if you want to divorce in California by the end of this calendar year:
If your divorce was recently filed:
If the 6-month waiting period won’t be triggered until after January 1st, you won’t be officially divorced in this calendar year. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t complete all the steps and submit your documents to the court before the end of the year. You can even have an “enforceable” agreement (kind of like a contract) that allows you to formally separate accounts/property etc. even before the date on which the judge actually stamps your divorce decree.
If you are considering reconciliation:
If you and your partner are having second (or third) thoughts and are considering holding off on divorce – you might still want to separate your assets and earnings while you attempt to patch things up. In this case, no need to file anything with the court – just consider preparing a Post-nuptial Agreement (aka Postmarital Agreement). You can read more about that here.
If your divorce has been pending for a long time but you still don’t have a full agreement:
If you’re still hammering out the details of how stuff will be divided or who will pay support (and how much), but you’d really like to get your divorced finalized, you may be able to do a “status-only divorce” (sometimes called a “bifurcation.”) It’s a little tricky (especially if you’re not both on board), but if you really want or need to be divorced by the end of the calendar year – with just a couple of months to spare – this might be your best option.