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Once you and your former spouse have made the difficult decision to move toward divorce, you may want to finish everything as quickly as possible. This time of transition involves huge changes in your life. You may want to jump into the next chapter as soon as you can. 

However, all couples divorcing in the state of California must go through a six-month waiting period between the time your spouse received the divorce papers to the day a judge approves the divorce judgment. This mandatory period offers a chance to ensure that this step is the right move for you and your spouse, as well as give your spouse time to adjust to the decision if he or she did not expect the divorce papers. 

For some couples, the property division process takes longer than six months. Others settle all matter with a few months left to wait until the judge approves the divorce. In either case, make sure you understand how the waiting period could affect your financial and living situation. 

Can you live separately during the six-month waiting period? 

In the state of California, there is no requirement for divorcing couple’s living arrangements. You may live together or separately during the waiting period. 

Can you continue to use joint accounts during the waiting period? 

If at all possible, start the process of separating your finances now. California, as a common property state, will split all joint assets as part of the divorce. Consult with legal representation to discuss your specific asset situation. 

Can you receive child support or spousal support during the waiting period? 

Technically, spousal support, child support and other property division concerns do not begin until after the final divorce judgment. Depending on your situation, you may receive a temporary order for this support or other child custody arrangements. The temporary order may be different than the final child custody and parenting plan or the final support amount.