I filed for divorse back in Nov.2011 and in June 2012 the entering the default was granted since my spouse hasn't responded and we signed an agreement later. I prepared and filed everything for Judgement. How long does it usually take to finalize the divorce?
Family Law Attorney
It depends on whether or not all appropriate documents were properly prepared and signed, and which court you filed in. The judgment clerk will reject the judgment package unless all appropriate documents were properly prepared and signed, and at least four Notice of Entry of Judgment forms were included in the package. With properly prepared and signed documents, it typically has taken between 1 week and 2 months for the court to process the documents and enter judgment, depending on the particular court. Because of court personnel cutbacks due to the economy, it could take longer.
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.
Divorce / Separation Lawyer
It is not uncommon for your judgment paperwork to be rejected by court staff. Unless you included a large prepaid self-addressed envelope with your paperwork, your papers might be rejected and you will never know.
The court probably maintains a public pick-up box. If you did not provide a return envelope, go to the court and look through this box for your papers.
Divorce / Separation Lawyer
Our office has maintained a family law practice in Alameda County, Santa Clara County and Contra Costa County for the past 31 years. I have represented several thousand of individuals in family law matters.
You have received good advice from previous attorneys responding to your Avvo request. Honestly, unless you were very well coached by and through a review of credible legal materials, or at a minimum had assistance of a para legal, it is statistically improbable for you to have your first filing with the court of a Judgment past mustering and go through the process and not be rejected for non-conformance with procedural requirements. What has to be accomplished to obtain your final judgment, in regard to many divorces, not particularly logical or common senseless. If you are in no rush, the court probably bounce it back several times and you will have to make a number of corrections. If you are in a rush at all, retain legal counsel If you want to minimize your time and effort and can't afford legal counsel, you probably should retain service of a para legal.
John N. Kitta
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Divorce / Separation Lawyer
A little more information would need to be provided in order to give you proper advisement about this. If the Agreement that the two of you signed was properly executed (notarized and signed by both parties, and also put into the proper format for Judgment or Stipulation), this packet can be sumbitted to the Court for signature as long as Disclosures were also exchanged by both of you. Since your spouse's Default was entered but he signed an Agreement, the Disclosures must be completed by both of you, not just you. One of the things that has to be stated in the Judgment is that you both had knowledge of the other person's assets, debts, income, and expenses. Forms can be completed in order to fulfill this requirement and hopefully this was done already since those forms should be exchanged before an Agreement is signed. You may want to go the Family Law Clinic and show them what you have in order to find out if you need additional forms to be signed and/or exchanged by both of you. Once a Judgment is properly completed and is submitted to the Court, it could take about 5-10 weeks to receive back from the Court. It all depends on how busy the Judgment Clerk is and how soon after the Clerk reviews thew Judgment packet the Judge signs off on the paperwork. If a packet is returned because something essential is missing or improperly done, then extra time will obviously be needed to correct the problem. You really want to be sure that what you submit the first time around is correct in order to avoid undue delay. A family law attorney could look over your documents and perhaps make some suggestions to you about what, if anything, still needs to be done. It may cost you some money to get that advice, but it could be worth it in the end so that you do things correctly. It is so easy for there to be mistakes because there is a lot of detailed language required in Agreements and a lot of forms that are submitted with a Judgment packet and Agreement.
This is not intended to be complete legal advice since more of your situation should be known and described to an attorney. A thorough review of your paperwork by an attorney would be highly recommended. If you cannot afford that, perhaps the Family Law Clinic can be of assistance to you. The local website can also help you. There is also a Judgment checklist that describes what is needed to be turned in to the Clerk for a Default Judgment to be processed with an Agreement. That is a category on the form...be sure to review that! It could really help.