February 2, 2024 In Divorce

Understanding Divorce Dates: When am I divorced?

In the journey through a divorce, understanding the timeline and its significant milestones is crucial for anyone navigating this challenging process. One common question that arises is about the official date of divorce: Is it the date when the divorce was filed, or is it the date when the judge grants the divorce? This distinction is not just a matter of semantics—it has practical implications for both parties involved.

Dates You Need To Know

Date of Filing: This is the date when the divorce petition is officially submitted to the court. It marks the formal beginning of the divorce process. The filing date is significant for several reasons, including being the point from which certain legal timelines start (such as the waiting period California mandates before a divorce can be finalized).

Date of Final Judgment: This is the date when the divorce is legally granted by the court. The judge signs the final divorce decree, making the dissolution of marriage official. This date is critical because it marks the legal end of the marriage, affecting rights and obligations related to marital status, taxes, and more.

Legal Implications

  • Marital Status: Your marital status remains “married” until the divorce is finalized. This status impacts your rights and responsibilities, including tax filings, eligibility for spousal benefits, and your ability to remarry.
  • Financial Aspects: The division of assets, debts, and property is often based on the date of separation, but the financial responsibilities and rights remain intertwined until the divorce decree is issued.
  • Child Custody and Support: Orders for child support and custody typically take effect from the date they are ordered by the court but understanding the distinction between filing and finalization dates helps in planning and negotiations.

Practical Considerations

  • Taxes: Your marital status as of December 31st of the tax year determines how you file your taxes—jointly or separately. If your divorce is finalized on or before this date, you file as single or head of household; if not, you may need to file as married, filing jointly or separately.
  • Insurance and Benefits: Health and life insurance policies, beneficiary designations, and eligibility for spousal benefits are impacted by your marital status, which only changes once the divorce is finalized.
  • Remarriage: Legally, you cannot remarry until your divorce is finalized. Marrying before the final judgment is issued could result in legal complications.


The date that legally signifies the end of a marriage in California is the date the judge grants the divorce, not the date of filing. Understanding the distinction between these dates helps navigate the legal and practical aspects of life post-divorce.






Disclaimer: This information is for general informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For specific guidance related to your situation, contact The Mines Law Firm at 888-700-0093._