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Is a max time in CA in which a divorce must be completed ? I don't have a Decree and Court records show "pending" since 1993.

Los Angeles, CA |

We filed in 1993 for a Divorce with the help of a Legal Aid shop. Husband did not contest. Husband recently needed proof of the divorce and went to the County record archives and even the actual courthouse where filed to get a copy of the Decree. He was told that the case was "Pending" and no decree could be found. In looking over my box of records, I don't have a decree copy either, so perhaps it wasn't finalized and there was no Order ?

We have been living our individual lives as divorced people. My husband and I will sign any documents just to get the Order, we are on good terms and want nothing from eachother; and have no minor children. Can the court pick up where it left off, or will we need to refile all over again ? Or ???? Thank you very very much.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. so long as the case has not been dismissed, you may jointly sign a Judgement of Dissolution and have it entered. You may also need to file declarations of disclosure. For this reason, best if you have qualified legal counsel advise you and do this for you. There is also the question as to rather this will be done as a default judgment or a judgment by marital settlement agreement. A lot depends on what has been filed with the court. Good luck!


  2. You should be able to use the same case and case number. I recently concluded a case in Santa Clara County where neither party had done anything in 25 years! It sounds like neither of you has remarried. If you have remarried, there are complications relative to your new marriages that should be addressed.

    Either or both of you should talk with an experienced family law attorney to assist in preparing the necessary final documents, which may include preparing and exchange current Final Declarations of Disclosure. You can consult with a lawyer about your question for little or no cost through a lawyer referral service in your area. You can find your nearest lawyer referral service by clicking on the link below.

    If you found this response helpful, please let me know by clicking the "Mark as Helpful" button at the bottom of this response. Thank you. Mr. Richardson practices in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, and concentrates in non-adversarial dispute resolution as a mediator and collaborative lawyer. The California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization certifies Mr. Richardson as a specialist in California Family Law. He offers no comments or advice with respect to the laws of any state or jurisdiction other than California. The above answer is a general explanation of legal rights and procedures. Mr. Richardson is not your lawyer unless and until you and he have personally met together. This post does not constitute legal advice, and no lawyer client relationship results.


  3. The Court can dismiss any case that is over five years old for lack of prosecution. To keep your old case viable you and your husband should file a Stipulation pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure Section 583.330 to extend the time within which your divorce case can be brought to trial, until (at least) January 1, 2014 - to enable you and your spouse to have the time to exchange preliminary and final Declarations of Disclosure, prepare and enter a Stipulated Judgment, and file that Stipulated Judgment with all other documents required for Judgment to be entered. You would best retain an experienced Family Law Attorney to handle your case without further delay, to avoid a dismissal and having to start all over again.

    Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, as each situation is fact specific, and it is not possible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and court pleadings filed in the case. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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