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Hurry up, it’s June and Divorce.

by | Jun 14, 2024 | Divorce

No, I am not trying to hurry anyone into getting divorced.  This is a big decision and any couple considering divorce should first explore the various options available to avoid it altogether.  We are just now entering mid-June and couples who are ready to move forward with their divorce have a fleeting opportunity to get their divorce completed by the end of the year.  That opportunity is here in June but will be gone come July.  In this week’s blog we will cover what is needed to take advantage of this opportunity, how best to accomplish it, then I will speak a little bit about what will follow to get things timely done.


Starting the 6 month Clock.   California does not want couples to make rash decisions getting divorced so has a 6 month cooling off period before a divorce will be granted.  Out of curiosity I looked up Nevada’s cooling off requirements and found that they don’t have any waiting requirements and a divorce there will be granted as soon as the business is taken care of.  Not so in California.  The cooling off policy here is to assure that couples are sure that divorce is the right option.  The six month delay gives divorcing couples a substantial period of time to make certain this is what they want before it actually comes to pass.


So, what starts this 6 month clock ticking?  To initiate a divorce one spouse will file a Petition to commence the case with the Court.  This filing is required to get closer to starting the clock, but the actual trigger is when the Court obtains jurisdiction over the other spouse.  This is accomplished by either having the Petition paperwork served on the other spouse, or by the other spouse appearing by filing their Response with the Court.  Usually, service happens before the other spouse proceeds with filing a Response, so most typically the 6 month clock begins ticking when the other spouse is served with the initiating papers.


How Does June Fit Into all of This?  The most pressing deadline for couples seeking to be divorced by the end of the year as we enter the second half of June is to have the initiating Petition paperwork filed and served by the end of June.  If the Petition does not get filed until July or service of the paperwork does not happen until July then this window of opportunity to be divorced by the end of the year has passed, and while you can get everything resolved this year, you won’t be single until next year.


Why Divorce (or not) by the end of the Year?  Couples that I have worked with have had varied reasons for wanting to get all the divorce work done by the end of the year.  One emotional consideration is feeling like you are starting the new year afresh with the business of the divorce being behind you.  There can be tax benefits as well.  As long as the divorce has been finalized by the last day of the year, spouses can file their taxes as single.  If there is a plan to file separate taxes then being able to file “single” versus “married filing separately” is a more favorable tax filing status.  These two benefits of starting the new year with a clean slate and the tax benefits are the most common incentives for couples to hurry up in June to get their divorces filed.


Or NotOn the other hand, if the couple plans on jointly filing their taxes in the year they are filing their divorce, it is often much more practical to delay the termination of the marital status until the beginning of the new year.  In these situations, having the status of the marriage ended in December prevents them from being able to file “married filing jointly”.  For these couples they can still file in June though they wouldn’t necessarily be in a rush to do so.  Couples can agree in their settlement agreements filed with the Court to have the Court delay the termination of the marital status, so if the waiting period ends at some point this year, that the orders from the Court hold off on terminating the marital status until next year to allow for joint filing.


So File, Serve and That’s It?  No, you are not done once you have filed and served the Petition before the end of June.  The other requirement is that you get the issues of your divorce resolved and the necessary paperwork submitted to the Court in a timely fashion so that they can be processed before the year ends.  If you file a Petition and serve it then do nothing else, you will never be divorced.  The divorce process requires the Court gaining jurisdiction through the filing and service, and then entering a Judgment that resolves the issues of the divorce and ends the status of the marriage.  Once you have initiated the case intending to be done by the end of the year, you will need to set to work getting the business completed so the paperwork can get submitted to the court with ample time for it to be processed.  If you are litigating your divorce it will not be very realistic to expect that the business will be done by the end of the year.  With mediations where the couple is united in wanting to get things finalized by the end of the year, it is usually a reasonable expectation to get things done to accomplish this goal.


So Consider HurryingI end where I began.  For the next couple of weeks I can provide the couples I work with the option to complete their divorce before the end of the year.  Come July, I will no longer have that ability.  The only reason for my call for you to hurry is to preserve the possibility of meeting the timing deadlines if that is something that you want.  Otherwise, take your time.  Make sure you are making the right choice.  I am happy to be here to help you get things done in a good way once the time is right.  You are making big important decisions.  Be thoughtful.  Only hurry if you want things done by year’s end and in that case we only have to hurry to get the initial Petition filed and served, which will then allow us to take our time making the important decisions which we will have the rest of the year to accomplish.