What are the divorce time limitations? 3 Answers as of March 23, 2011

I filed for divorce. The respondent is dragging it out by running out of town when she knows a meeting will be scheduled, not communicating with her attorney (which I'm paying for), and not following through with the things she agreed to in the initial meeting with our attorney's, such as not signing a short sale on the house (which will cause me to owe my employer a substantial amount when the house goes into foreclosure, (in two months)). Is there a time limit in California, or any options available to me in order to expedite the divorce? We have no assets and I hired a child advocate to assist in the custody, which resulted in me having the minor child the majority of the time (lives with me now) and we have been following the recommendation tot he letter.

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Goldberg Jones
Goldberg Jones | Zephyr Hill
If you cannot settle the case and get her cooperation to sign a Marital Settlement Agreement, you will need to set your case for Trial. You will likely settle before the trial date, but you never know. If you do not set a Trial date, you will not have a finish line and things can drag on for months/years.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/23/2011
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
Unfortunately, if your wife won't sign to accommodate the short sale that she verbally agreed to in negotiations, the Court won't order herto do so. Whereas your wife may have a fiduciary duty to minimize community debts, she can't be ordered to cooperate with the short sale. Had the agreement been a written agreement, entered into by both parties during the pending divorce case, the Court could make an order pursuant to that agreement (but your wife could violate that order by dragging her feet or refusing to sign until too late). The short sale would likely help both of you by limiting your and her losses. You should remind her of that fact, and keep copies of your correspondence and her response - if she refuses to cooperate, because that correspondence and responses can be used to support you on the issues of attorney's fees and breach of fiduciary duty to minimize community obligations. It is possible thattheCourt might entertainMotion for an Order to appoint the Court Clerk to sign the short sale documents on your wife's behalf, but don't bank on the Court making such an order, since you lack a signed agreement entered into during the pending case to do the short sale, and you have no Order based on any such signed agreement. The only way to expedite (or accomplish) the divorce if your wife won't cooperate in settling the case would be to request a trial, but it takes time for the Court to set atrial, based on its available calendar dates.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/22/2011
Michael Apicella
Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
Yes, you can schedule several litigation events on the court's calendar to move your case towards resolution and final judgment. E.g., you can request a settlement conference and/or trial. If there are temporary issues to deal with, such as custody, child or spousal support, you can also file a motion to get orders on those issues. If the non-cooperation by your spouse is designed to delay resolution or increase your fees, then you can ask for sanctions, including your attorney fees for having to get court assistance (i.e., litigating). Best to call a local family law lawyer and discuss the particular facts of your case to develop the proper strategy to keep things moving forward.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/22/2011
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