Fast Divorce in Santa Monica California
Everyone who has ever wanted to get a fast divorce in Santa Monica has wondered how long does it take to get a fast divorce in Santa Monica California. How fast is fast?
Fast is not very fast. In California, it takes, 6 months plus one day, to get a divorce finalized.
However, nothing in the law is that simple or straightforward. Read on. I will tell you all about the fast divorce frauds, the urban legends, the misunderstandings, the closed down loopholes from the 1940’s and the completely dishonest “advertising” done by some California courts about one day divorces in Santa Monica California.
However, the important thing to understand at this point is that ANY divorce in the state of California will take 6 months plus one day to finalize. There are no exceptions. There is no way around that 6 month delay. No matter what! Any divorce in Santa Monica will take a minimum of 6 months plus one day. California one day divorce in Santa Monica will take……6 months plus one day.
The Law on Fast Divorce in Santa Monica California
First, here’s the law, as contained in California Family Code 2339:
(a) Subject to subdivision (b) and to Sections 2340 to 2344, inclusive, no judgment of dissolution is final for the purpose of terminating the marriage relationship of the parties until six months have expired from the date of service of a copy of summons and petition or the date of appearance of the respondent, whichever occurs first.
(b) The court may extend the six-month period described in subdivision (a) for good cause shown.
So a fast divorce in Santa Monica can be longer than 6 months, but not shorter.
And in case you’re thinking that maybe Family Code 2339 through Family Code 2344 must contain the magic exception that applies to your specific case, you can read those code sections here. They are entirely procedural. There are no exceptions to the 6 month plus one day rule for any fast divorce in Santa Monica. Even if you file for California online divorce in Santa Monica, it will still take 6 months plus one day to finalize.
Why “PLUS One Day?”
It’s because the California Civil Code provides that a Santa Monica divorce cannot be final, “until 6 months have expired.” You have to wait for the whole 6 months to be over.
So for example, if your 6 months began on June 1, your case will be final on December 2. December 1 is still within the 6 months. 6 months is not over until the stroke of midnight on December 1. And that’s December 2.
When Does the 6 Months Waiting Period Begin?
California has 2 types of divorce procedure, based upon factors such as length of marriage, any minor children, ownership of real estate, property and debt values, consent, etc.
In a Summary Dissolution (approximately 25% of California divorces), the simpler procedure, the 6 months begin on the date you file your case at court. In a Regular Dissolution (approximately 75% of California divorces), your 6 months begin on the date on which your spouse/partner is served with the filed Summons and Petition. So obviously that date of service of docs would have to be on or after the date of filing.
Urban Legends – What About Getting a Fast Divorce in Nevada or the Dominican Republic or Mexico or Wherever in Less Than 6 Months?
Many jurisdictions, including those listed above, have shorter waiting periods than 6 months. If either you or your spouse/partner HABITUALLY resides in any of those jurisdictions, you can get a fast divorce in that jurisdiction and that fast divorce would be recognized in California and in the whole United States.
However if neither one of you HABITUALLY resides in one of those jurisdictions, you can’t get a legal divorce there.
So, for example, if you sign a document for a Dominican Republic lawyer who just took $5000 from you and that document claims falsely that you reside habitually in the DR and then that lawyer rents a DR hotel room for a week in your name or tells you that you have to go to the DR for a weekend, guess whether or not that fast divorce is legal and would be recognized in California or the US. Hint: California courts would lose the considerable revenue from divorce filing fees if California recognized bogus fast divorces out-of-state as being legal for California residents. If you use the Dominican Republic fast divorce routine, you’ve just been screwed by a DR lawyer. Tell your story at his office in downtown Santo Domingo. It’s incredible how many folks still fall for this scam. Vanuatu is also now a popular fast divorce scam location.
This is the stuff that used to be legal in the 1940’s when Vegas or Tijuana divorces were popular in Hollywood. California closed the loophole in 1969 and the US closed the international loophole for the benefit of all of the United States in 1970.
Here’s the California statute:
California Family Code 2091: A divorce obtained in another jurisdiction shall be of no force or effect in this state if both parties to the marriage were domiciled in this state at the time the proceeding for the divorce was commenced.
Also California Family Code 2092: Proof that a person hereafter obtaining a divorce from the bonds of matrimony in another jurisdiction was (a) domiciled in this state within 12 months before the commencement of the proceeding therefor, and resumed residence in this state within 18 months after the date of the person’s departure therefrom, or (b) at all times after the person’s departure from this state and until the person’s return maintained a place of residence within this state, shall be prima facie evidence that the person was domiciled in this state when the divorce proceeding was commenced.
So California residents can’t get a fast divorce outside of California unless their spouses reside in the jurisdiction that grants the fast divorce. And California won’t even recognize a bogus fast divorce from out-of-state if you resided in California during the 12 months before that fast divorce or return to California within 18 months after the fast divorce. California does not want you taking your divorce filing fees elsewhere.
The DR hotel room scam and the weekend visit to the DR scam hasn’t worked since 1969. You really must habitually reside in the foreign jurisdiction for at least one year.
The fast divorce loopholes were closed down internationally by the 1970 Hague Divorce Convention, which states, “The Convention provides for recognition of divorces or legal separations obtained in a Contracting State if, at the date the proceedings were instituted, the respondent had his or her habitual residence there or the petitioner had his or her habitual residence there. For the latter case, an additional condition is that either the petitioner’s habitual residence existed for more than one year or the spouses last habitually resided there together.”
That’s why fast divorces in Mexico or the DR or Vanuatu are not recognized by the US or California if neither one of you has resided in the foreign jurisdiction for at least one year. California law imposes even greater restrictions on returning to California with a scam fast divorce.
So again, if your spouse resides legitimately (and hasn’t resided in California for 12 months before and doesn’t return to California for 18 months after) in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Vanuatu, New Hampshire, Nevada, Oklahoma, etc. at the time your divorce case is filed, you have a choice. You can get divorced in California – based upon your habitual residence here – or wherever your spouse is habitually resident. You may have difficulties enforcing the actual terms of your foreign divorce (and would probably have to get child custody and support orders here in California anyway for any child resident here) but you could get a legal divorce in that foreign jurisdiction. If it happens to be the Dominican Republic where your spouse has resided legitimately for over a year, then you’ve hit the jackpot.
But if you and your spouse both live in California, California is the only place in the world where you can get a legal divorce. And it takes 6 months plus one day. 6 months plus a day IS fast divorce in Santa Monica California.
One more bit of the overall foreign fast divorce fraud has to be cleared up. Scammers (particularly DR scammers) will tell you that the US Constitution and local laws in all 50 states require “full faith and credit” be given to the acts and orders of “sister states.” And that’s true. You wouldn’t want a legitimate New Jersey divorce not to be honored in California or vice versa. So all states do have such laws. California does and here it is:
California Family Code 2093: The application of this chapter is limited by the requirement of the Constitution of the United States that full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state.
Clearly, “state” in this California law means “state of the union.” Hence the reference to the US Constitution. The Dominican Republic and Mexico do not acquire any rights as “states” under the US Constitution! You can see that it is completely bogus for foreign divorce scammers to claim that their countries acquire “sister state” recognition under California law. New Jersey and Minnesota do, but Mexico and the DR do not.
Unfortunately, foreign divorce fraud also occurs because there are similar ‘sister state” provisions in international law under which the Federal government of the United States has agreed to give full force and effect to the acts and orders of other ‘states,” as in foreign countries. You wouldn’t want to live in and get divorced in England and then become un-divorced when you step off the plane in the US.
What the scammers don’t want you to know, if they even know it themselves, is that under the Constitution of the United State, any power that is not reserved to the Federal government devolves upon the state, and the power to make divorce law is not reserved to the Federal government. So when you get off the plane from England, it is not that the US government is recognizing your divorce (though it would), but instead it is the state in which you go to reside that will recognize your divorce. If that state is California, the circumstances under which it will recognize your English or Dominican divorce or any other divorce are laid out above in Family Code 2091 and 2092.
Again, if you both reside in California, you can’t get a legal divorce in England, Iceland or the DR.
What’s the Story When You Hear That Someone Got Their Divorce Judgment in 2 or 3 months?
They probably did. But their divorces were still not final until 6 months plus one day after the Respondent (the spouse that did not file first) was served with the Summons and Petition.
It is common in California divorce to get your divorce judgment signed by the judge within the 6 month waiting period. You will have your final judgment signed and in hand. You will have child custody orders, child support orders, spousal support orders and property/debt division orders all signed and final. But you’re still not divorced until 6 months plus one day has passed from the date of service.
An example will illustrate this point. If you file your divorce at court on January 2 and then have your spouse/partner served with the Summons and Petition on January 4, January 4 is the start of your 6 months plus one day waiting period. So your earliest target date for finalization is July 5, which is 6 months plus one day later. July 5 is the earliest possible date on which you can be divorced and restored to the status of a single person.
However, 31 days after your spouse/partner was served (in most cases – military Respondents are different), you can submit your judgment batch of docs to the court, requesting, among other things that your proposed judgment be signed by the judge and entered into the judgment book.
The purpose of the 31 day wait, which is part of the 6 month wait is to give your spouse that amount of time to file a Response to contest the case on some issue if s/he wishes to do so. Again, military Respondent cases are different. If your spouse does not contest the case within 31 days after s/he was served with the Summons and Petition, you can submit your judgment batch of docs.
What is this California One Day Divorce I See Advertised Online?
It’s totally misleading. It is not a one-day divorce in any meaningful sense. The “one day” refers to the length of time you will spend in court. It still takes…..6 months plus one day from the date your spouse/partner is served with the Summons and Petition (in a Regular Disso) to get your divorce finalized.
The disappointing aspect of this California one day divorce nonsense is that several California counties actually advertise and promote it as a California one day divorce, thereby getting people’s hopes up unjustifiably and causing confusion about what the actual law says. It’s very dishonest of courts to participate in that type of misleading promotion.
Several counties offer California one-day divorces – Sacramento and San Diego are the biggest promoters of it. What happens is that you show up at court in the morning. Someone from the court helps you get your docs in order and you go before the judge in open court that afternoon. The judge signs your judgment. All of that occurs within “one day.”
However, to qualify for the one-day divorce program, the following must be true (bear in mind that these factors differ slightly from county to county):
- You’re not represented by a lawyer;
- You’ve already filed your case;
- You’ve already served your spouse/partner with the Summons and Petition
- 6 months have passed since you served your spouse/partner.
That’s right. Read the details here. You must already be past your 6 months plus one day minimum waiting period. In other words, you’ve filed your case, served your spouse over 6 month ago and you have no idea how to finalize your case (because presumably if you did, you’d have had your judgment signed during that 6 months. So, this is not a one day or fast divorce at all. It’s a con.
Despite all rumors, frauds, lies and wishes to the contrary, any legal divorce in Santa Monica California will take a minimum of 6 months plus one day no matter what. The only fast divorce in Santa Monica is one that takes 6 months plus one day.