What is California Mandatory 6 month “Cooling Off” Period?

Why Is It Called the Cooling Period?

For any couple in California seeking to end their marriage through divorce, there is a mandatory 6-month period by the courts. Due to the nature of divorce coupled with the stress of it all, this period is to ensure that both parties have had the time necessary to fully think about the decision being made. In other words, take time to cool off from any emotional conflicts towards the other party to better facilitate the most peaceful resolution whether that is in mediation or litigation. It is also a time that parties are able to spend some time apart from one another, if they choose to determine if reconciliation is possible.

Related Article: Is the 6-Month Cooling-Off Period Mandatory? Can I Get Divorced Before 6 Months?

The Cooling Period: What Happens to My Case?

The beauty of Mediation is that we can begin working on your case while we wait for the 6-month period to be up. Once the petition has been filed and served on the other party and acknowledgment by the party served is filed with the court, we begin mediation sessions as soon as you and your spouse or partner are ready. By the time the 6-month period is over we hopefully would be close if not finished with drafting a Marital Settlement Agreement which is the last step in the divorce mediation process. 

What Happens When The 6 Months Are Up?

Depending on how quickly we were able to move through your case with mediation sessions, the financial disclosures and drafting the Marital Settlement Agreement, we would be able to file the finalized version along with the necessary court documents requesting the court enter judgment on your agreements. However, if you have not finished your mediation meetings or signed your Marital Settlement Agreement, then your divorce will not automatically be final when the six months are up.

Is It Even Possible to Get Everything Done In The Waiting Period? 

While it’s possible to finalize all matters within this period, typically, it takes longer, especially if the divorce involves complex issues or disputes. The timing of the process solely depends on how fast both parties are willing to move and how prompt they are with requests from the office. Based on my experience, thus far a straightforward divorce with no kids and minimal property are the cases that move the fastest. However, those still take on average about 6 months with parties that are on top of things. There is no right answer as to how long the divorce should take but on average the majority of our clients in mediation are able to complete the process within 6-12 months.

More Information on the Cool Off Period 

For more information on navigating your divorce during the 6-month cooling period, or if you are interested in learning more about Divorce Mediation or other Services we offer please Contact Us for a free and confidential virtual consultation, anywhere in California. 

by: Ahsha Mootz

Ahsha Mootz with west coast family mediation center

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