Fountain Valley, CA asked in Divorce and Family Law for California

Q: Curious: Can a final judgment be made on the first hearing of divorce that was delayed if it's been 6 months?

Now that my brother has pulled the plug on a short term marriage (6 yrs), his lawyer told him his inherited house is still his but he may have to pay a percentage of the community property (his pay check) used towards a refinance to pay out my half of that house. His lawyer had the first hearing delayed, due to his soon to be ex had been looking to recertify her license as a trainer where she currently works. I imagine that was to be able to show her ability to work (she can't without it). So now the hearing is almost exactly 6 months to the date of her responding to his petition. Can the judge decide at that hearing and would the judgement be final and the end of the divorce could actually happen? He has been virtually hiding in his room for the last 5 months to avoid any conflicts with his wife and it's getting old.....

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In California, a final judgment in a divorce case can indeed be issued at the first hearing, especially if the case is uncontested and all necessary paperwork and agreements between the parties are in order. However, whether this happens depends on the complexity of the case, the completeness of the submitted documentation, and the court's schedule.

For a divorce that involves division of assets, such as the scenario with your brother's inherited house and the refinancing to pay out community property shares, the court will need to review all relevant financial information and agreements between the parties. If both parties have reached an agreement on all matters, including property division, spousal support, and if applicable, child custody and support, the judge may finalize the divorce at the first hearing.

However, it's important to note that California has a mandatory six-month waiting period from the date the respondent is served with the divorce petition before the divorce can be finalized. This means that, while a judge can make decisions and potentially issue orders at the first hearing, the divorce won't be officially final until at least six months have passed since the service of the petition.

Encourage your brother to continue working closely with his attorney to ensure all documentation is thorough and filed timely, and to prepare for the possibility that the divorce process may involve negotiations or further hearings, especially if there are contested issues.

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