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Legal Separation

Divorce and legal separation are perhaps some of the most stressful life experiences that an individual may endure during their lifetime. There are many sensitive issues that spouses will need to evidently address, such as the division of marital assets; their children’s custody; and the very complex issues of child support and spousal support. On top of the sensitive issues at hand, the process of filing for and finalizing a divorce, or legal separation, may also take a significant amount of time, which only adds to the stress that an individual may experience. Therefore, it is important that you choose a divorce attorney that can provide you with the strong advocacy and compassion that you will need during this difficult time. 


The majority of individuals want their divorce matter to be finalized as soon as possible. However, it is rarely possible to determine exactly how long it will actually take for a divorce matter to be finalized. In California, individuals cannot finalize their divorce until at least six (6) months (plus one day) after the date that their initial divorce petition and summons were properly served on the other spouse or the date of the Respondent’s appearance in the matter, whichever occurs first. In California, there are no exceptions to this six (6) month waiting period. 


While a six (6) month waiting period may already seem like a significant amount of time, the reality is that many divorce matters, and the truth is the same for legal separations, tend to take longer than six (6) months before finalization. This is likely going to be the case in a divorce or legal separation matter where there are ongoing child custody issues or complex issues pertaining to assets and debt obligations. 


Divorce matters are also either “uncontested” or “contested.” In an uncontested divorce, spouses will usually be in agreement regarding the division of their assets and debts. In a contested divorce, the opposite will be true – spouses will be in disagreement about some or all of the issues at hand, which can include the division of assets and debts; child custody and visitation (parenting plan); and whether child support and/or spousal support should be awarded. In general, uncontested divorces tend to be finalized sooner than contested divorces.


Often times an individual  believes that both spouses will come to a full agreement on all issues pertaining to their divorce. However, even if your divorce is an uncontested one wherein both spouses have agreed upon all of the details of the divorce, it is usually a good idea to consult with a divorce attorney to ensure that you fully understand what you are agreeing to and to make sure that you are not overlooking an important issue. 


Please do not hesitate to contact Valenzuela & Montoya, LLP if you wish to set up a consultation

with an experienced divorce attorney in Sacramento.

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