It is a well-known fact that divorces can take a long time to settle. People typically blame confusion over assets, difficult negotiations or a stubborn ex for the lengthy process. However, couples seeking a divorce in California may have an additional factor delaying their process, thanks to a large backup of family court cases in the state. 

According to the Court Executive Officer, the backlog is currently about four months long. However, individuals who filed their paperwork and spoke with clerks said they were hearing of backlogs between eight and 10 months. Currently, people who filed for divorce in California in October are still waiting for the paperwork to be finalized.

There are many personal and financial challenges would-be divorcees could facing due to this backlog. For example, one person noted that he could not change his health insurance until the divorce was final. Even though his ex refuses to use the coverage, he must continue to pay for it until paperwork finalizes the marriage is over. The main reason for the backlog is financial, according to the Court Executive Officer. He says the backup is the result of a $10 million hit to the court’s cash flow thanks to $6 million in budget cuts and a $4 million deficit.

The financial situation led to the loss of approximately 100 employees along with a hiring freeze. Court representatives hope for an improvement in their operating budgets and personnel. In the meantime, however, those seeking a divorce in California should expect a wait after filing their paperwork. To file paperwork as soon as possible, the parties should each work with separate lawyers to finalize an agreement on shared assets and custody issues.

Source: 10news.com, “Months of backlog in family court ties up divorce cases“, Melissa Mecija, May 15, 2018