If you want to enter a new marriage soon after ending your earlier marriage, you’ll be wondering how California divorce laws can affect your decision. Specifically, you may want to know how long after divorce can you remarry in California.
You cannot remarry until your old marriage is legally over. Additionally, you have to wait at least six months before you can remarry. Let’s look at the laws on remarriage in California.
There is a minimum six-month ‘cooling off’ period
Can you remarry after divorce?
Certainly. Many couples that have parted ways choose to remarry at some point in their lives. No state has a limit on the number of times a person can marry or remarry in their lifetime. The only stipulation is that you must remain legally married to one person at a time.
How long do you have to wait to get married after divorce? States also have a mandatory waiting period between divorce and remarriage. In California, it’s six months. Per the California legislature Family Code/Chapter 4 Sec 2339, the cooling off period starts on the day either spouse is served divorce papers.
The cooling off period has a purpose. It gives couples an opportunity to reconcile before calling it quits forever. It gives both sides time to investigate and prepare a divorce settlement and custody agreement. The parties have the space to negotiate, think things over, and act fairly and in each other’s best interests to avoid complications or regrets later.
The divorce must be finalized
The individual motivations for remarrying after divorce can be complex and multifaceted. Remarriage helps with emotional healing and growth, ensures financial stability, and offers a sense of completeness that comes from sharing life with a compatible partner. Alongside the peace that comes from knowing you want to move on, understanding that your old marriage must first be dissolved by the court will keep you motivated and patient.
Judgment of dissolution
A judgment of dissolution is a decree that your marriage is legally over. There are two steps to receiving a judgment of dissolution. The negotiation period is first. You hire a family lawyer to determine property division, child support, custody and visitation, and other matters. This is followed by the actual divorce process where you obtain a divorce decree in court.
If your divorce is complex and you have substantial disagreements with your spouse, your divorce can take longer to be finalized. This means you will have to wait longer before you can remarry in California.
With open communication and cooperation, your divorce can move forward amicably and at a reasonable pace. If you’re unable to come to an agreement about the various aspects of your divorce, the Law Offices of Health L. Baker recommend a mediated divorce.
Our attorneys, masters in California state laws and conflict resolution, act as facilitators of your divorce settlement. They are neutral third parties guiding you to reach an agreement regarding various aspects of your divorce. They do not make the decisions; you do.
As a negotiation method, mediation can be used in both contested divorce cases and uncontested/mutual divorce procedures. If a contested issue remains unresolved, then your attorney sends you to the judge for resolution.
Hopefully, you have a broader understanding of how soon after divorce can you remarry. Let us now look at the process of getting a divorce in California.
The Divorce Process
- California is a no-fault divorce state, which means spouses are not required to prove that a spouse was at fault when filing for divorce. They merely have to assert that irreconcilable differences exist. Spouses cannot challenge the divorce on these grounds.
- For the court to have jurisdiction over the parties and enter a judgment of dissolution, two conditions must exist. At least one party must be a resident of California for at least six months. The party must be a resident of the county in which the petition is filed for at least three months prior to the filing of the petition.
- There is a six-month statutory waiting period from the day a party serves the divorce documents (or appears in court) and the entry of the judgment of resolution.
Filing the petition for dissolution of marriage
A divorce case starts when one spouse files the petition for dissolution of marriage and lets the other spouse know. Then, the attorneys for both spouses begin the discovery process, disclosing financial assets and negotiating their division, calculating spousal and child support, and negotiating child custody arrangement. The process can be short or long depending on the size of the marital estate and how both parties cooperate with one another.
A quick divorce with less paperwork or a requirement to appear for court proceedings, known as a summary dissolution, is available under Family Code Section 2400-2406, if the following conditions are met:
- The couple has been married for five years or less
- Neither spouse owns any real estate, including a residence
- The couple does not have children together and isn’t expecting any children
- The couple’s combined debt does not exceed $6,000, excluding car loans
- The value of all community property does not exceed $4,000, excluding motor vehicles
- Each party waives spousal support
- A written agreement exists for the division of assets and debts
Adding to our earlier explanation of mediation, the mediator (for example, an attorney) will meet with both parties separately. They will not disclose any discussions with one party to another unless authorized to do so by the disclosing party. When parties reach a settlement agreement, the terms are documented into a settlement agreement on the spot, which the parties sign right then and there.
Mediation is not a necessary requirement in California to ensure divorce occurs between two parties in a marriage. It is only required when the parties cannot reach an agreement on child custody and visitation. However, it is a good option to start out as it helps both parties address unresolved conflict.
Mediation is a cost-effective process, saving you court costs and sparing you the emotional disturbance of court proceedings. Many divorcing couples elect to use meditation and take their case to court for asset division only if mediation is unsuccessful.
Discovery is a phase in which each party gets information and evidence related to the divorce from the other party. The goal is to ensure that both have the same information that will allow them to negotiate a fair agreement as part of the final settlement.
Different types of information are obtained during discovery, including:
- Financial records of each party, such as bank statements, pay stubs, tax returns, investment records, and other financial documents. These records help determine alimony, child support, asset division, and other financial aspects of the divorce.
- Communication exchanges such as email, text messages, voicemails, and social media posts, which provide evidence of parties’ interactions and behaviors related to the divorce proceedings.
- Expert opinions that can be relied upon to support or challenge certain aspects of the case. Experts include property appraisers, child psychologists, financial analysts, and other professionals who provide assessments relevant to the case.
The spouses’ attorneys handle discovery. The process can be short or lengthy depending on how both sides cooperate with one another. If a spouse ignores a discovery request or lies in their statements, the courts can sanction them.
The only way for spouses to avoid discovery is to reach a settlement through mediation. If this isn’t possible, the parties should participate fully and act reasonably. Doing so will spare them time, money, and grief.
Division of assets
California is a community property state, which means that the state law grants both spouses equal ownership over all marital assets in a divorce.
The parties must disclose under oath all assets. The court determines what assets are community property and what assets are separate property. Community property is everything purchased or acquired by a couple during the course of their marriage. Separate property consists of the assets and debt acquired by each side before marriage, which will be retained entirely by that party.
There may be circumstances when the community and separate property may be commingled. For example, when your spouse contributes money to an investment account you hold, or if the mortgage on your home is paid for from a joint bank account. Ultimately, unless the parties agree in writing, the court will have the final word on what is community, what is separate, and who gets what.
The divorcing couple can agree on the period and amount of spousal support in their settlement agreement. Spousal support or alimony is often requested during the divorce proceeding but either side can ask for support any time after the divorce. However, the goal of spousal support is to enable the lower-earning spouse to reach self-sufficiency. So, if the spouse requesting support has been supporting themselves for years without court-ordered spousal support, a California court is unlikely to grant support later.
In California, spousal support is gender-neutral. The court has wide discretion in determining the amount and duration of spousal support. It considers various factors, including each spouse’s debt and assets, each spouse’s age and health, and the balance of hardships for each spouse.
There is no standard formula for calculating an amount of alimony. A common guideline for calculating spousal support in California is that the paying spouse should pay at least 40% of their net monthly income, minus half of the receiving spouse’s net monthly income.
Child custody and support
According to CA Fam Code Section 3010, both parents have an equal right to child custody. In California, custody is divided into two types: legal and physical custody.
Legal custody refers to parents’ rights to make decisions in their child’s life, for example, related to their education, religious upbringing, and medical treatment.
Physical custody relates to who the child will live with and parental responsibilities regarding physical care, meal preparation, and disciplining. In joint custody, the child gets to spend substantial time living with each parent.
The court presumes joint custody to be in the best interests of the child. If one parent requests it, the court may grant joint custody.
California law presumes that every parent has a duty to support his or her child financially. Child support is determined for the purpose of providing food, clothing, medical care, and education to the child from the marriage. The amount of child support is based on a complex calculation per a statewide guideline that considers a number of factors. They include the income of each parent, how much time each parent spends with the child, and any tax deductions available to each parent.
How long does a divorce take?
On average, it takes an average of 11 months to complete a divorce process from filing to finalization. But it can take less time if the couples are able to resolve issues quickly. An uncontested divorce is the fastest way to legally dissolve your marriage and enter into a new union. If, however, the divorce goes to trial, it may be many more months before you’re able to remarry.
As you await a legal end to your marriage, you can begin planning a new life with that someone special you expect to marry. Else, you can celebrate your single status and find the joy in living alone.
Getting your license to remarry in California
At the end of the six-month cooling-off period and after a judgment of dissolution of marriage has been granted, you can get married again. You’ll go through the same licensing process as before, only this time, you must provide the date on which your previous marriage legally ended and why. Some counties in California request a copy of the court order for your divorce before they issue a marriage license for remarriage.
Contact the Law Offices of Heath L. Baker
If there’s little left of your marriage and you want to file for divorce, consult our divorce lawyer to begin your divorce proceedings. Our California family law attorneys are highly experienced in areas of civilian divorce (contested and uncontested), mediation, and military divorce. Book your consultation and take next steps with confidence.