Filing a petition and having it served does not automatically result in a judgment. Other steps must be taken before a judgment will be entered.
The minimum length of time it takes to acquire a final Judgment of Dissolution in order to be free to marry once again is six months and one day from the date the Respondent is served with the Summons and Petition, or, six months and a day from the date the Respondent files a Response or Notice of General Appearance with the court, whichever comes first. If the six-month period passes before you are able to acquire your judgment, then the effective date of the dissolution is the date of entry of the judgment.
The effective date for legal separation or nullity is the day the judgment is entered, that is, the day the signed judgment is filed.
Be aware that a formal judgment signed by a judge must be filed and entered before it is final. A minute order from a hearing or a trial or a signed agreement without a judge's signature does not terminate the marriage.
How to file for a Divorce/Dissolution
It is strongly suggested that you consult with a family law attorney so that you are informed of your legal rights and the important legal issues in your case.
The basic alternatives available to you in obtaining legal assistance include one or more of the following:
Please, visit our Child Custody section for details.
Finalizing Your Divorce
Your marriage or domestic partnership does not automatically end six months after filing your petition. You will need to complete your dissolution action and get your judgment either by default (when the other party does not respond), by written agreement, or by trial.
We highly recommended that parties consult with a family law attorney before finalizing a divorce. There may be important legal rights regarding spousal support, pensions or other deferred compensation, or other property rights. It is your responsibility to know your rights before you set your case for trial or you may lose those rights forever
The most common courses of action for various circumstances are:
The completed documents to finalize a divorce, must be filed with the Civil Department in Room 103 of the main courthouse located at 725 Court Street. You must include three (3) self-addressed stamped envelopes; two (2) for you and one (1) for your spouse. Your documents will be submitted for approval and signature. After it is signed, the clerk will process your judgment, complete the Notice of Entry of Judgment. The Notice of Entry of Judgment will be mailed by the clerk to all parties. This is your proof that your divorce is final. It may take at least four to six weeks for the court to process the paperwork. If you do not get a copy of the Notice of Entry of Judgment, contact the Court. It is important that you keep this document as you may need proof of your dissolution at later times in your life.
The original judgment is kept in the court file.