The Divorce Process

The Divorce Process

Divorce is never easy and when you are filing for divorce in San Diego or responding to a petition for divorce, it can be difficult to know what steps to take to ensure that you understand everything you are agreeing to (or disputing) and that your legal rights are protected throughout the process. Divorce is a life-changing event, and the more you know about the divorce process and what exactly getting a divorce in San Diego entails, the more prepared you will be and the more likely you will be to obtain an outcome you are satisfied with. If you are considering filing for divorce in San Diego, do not hesitate to protect your rights and safeguard your financial future and the future of your loved ones. Contact (619) Divorce as soon as possible to discuss the details of your case with our knowledgeable San Diego divorce attorneys.

Experienced San Diego Divorce Lawyer

Going through a divorce can be stressful and financially and emotionally difficult for you and your loved ones. You may worry about how much the divorce will cost, how it will affect your family and how your marital property will be divided, all of which are valid concerns when faced with a divorce. If you have children with your spouse or high-value assets, you may wonder how the divorce will affect your child custody rights or your wealth and standard of living. Our San Diego divorce lawyers at (619) Divorce understand that all divorce cases are different, with unique circumstances that require personalized attention, and we are intimately familiar with San Diego divorce law and how it can be applied to each aspect of your case. You may not want to be involved in a divorce, and we understand and appreciate these feelings, but without adequate legal representation, your rights and your children’s rights could be at risk.

There are various factors that can make the divorce process considerably more difficult, costly and contentious, which is where our knowledgeable San Diego divorce attorneys at (619) Divorce come in. Attorney Steve Smith and our team of family law attorneys have extensive experience handling all matters arising out of a San Diego divorce and can help guide you towards a favorable solution to any issues you may face, whether that means negotiating a fair and reasonable settlement with your spouse or fighting for your rights in court. The outcome of your San Diego divorce case can ultimately affect the rest of your life and you should never leave your financial well-being and the future of your family up to your spouse or the court. Consult our law firm today for a free evaluation of your San Diego divorce case.

Divorce Law in San Diego

Divorce, also known as a dissolution of marriage, is the legal process by which one or both spouses can terminate a marriage in San Diego. Either spouse in a marriage can file for divorce and while the other spouse does not have to agree with the divorce, he or she cannot obstruct the process or attempt to block the divorce by refusing to participate. In fact, if you file for divorce and your spouse refuses to respond to the petition to dissolve the marriage, you may get what is called a “default judgment,” which means your spouse is giving up his or her right to have a say in the divorce case and the court will likely grant whatever you requested in your petition for divorce. The actual process of filing for divorce in San Diego varies and it can be difficult to successfully maneuver the legal process on your own, especially if the divorce is contested.

Contested vs. Uncontested Divorces

In most cases of divorce, the spouses will attempt to work together to address such issues as marital property division, spousal support, child support, and child custody and visitation, and can sometimes reach an agreement on all of these issues, or at least some of them, which means the divorce is “uncontested.” If the spouses are unable to work out an agreement on their own, however, the divorce is considered “contested,” and the case may proceed to a court hearing for a judge to decide on the issues.

California No-Fault Divorces and Community Property

Divorce is a complex legal matter and there are many different factors for the spouses or the court to consider when deciding on the terms of a divorce agreement, but fault is not one of them. California is what is called a “no-fault divorce” state, which means a spouse can file for divorce in San Diego for any reason, without having to prove that the other spouse did something to warrant a divorce. Instead, the couple can get a divorce on the basis of “irreconcilable differences,” which simply means they were not able to get along in their marriage. When it comes to divorce, the state of California also follows community property laws, which means all property and assets acquired by the couple during the marriage, or paid for with marital funds, belongs to both spouses equally and will be divided equitably in divorce.

Starting the Divorce Process

1. File Petition

The first step in the divorce process is filing a petition. This must be done even if both spouses are okay with divorcing. One spouse must file a petition with the court to ask for a divorce. This petition states the grounds for divorce. In California, this is typically “irreconcilable differences.”

2. Temporary Orders

If a spouse is dependent on the other for financial support or will have custody of the children, that spouse will need to ask the court for temporary orders for support and custody. A temporary order for these things is usually granted within a few days and remains in effect until a full court hearing. If the spouse seeking the temporary order is the same spouse that is filing the petition, they should file the temporary order at the same time. If the spouse seeking the temporary order did not file the petition, they need to file their request for the temporary order as soon as possible.

3. Service of Process

The spouse that files the divorce petition will also need to proof of service of process. This is a document that proves a copy of the divorce petition was given and received by the other spouse. You can either work with a process server, or in most cases when you work with a divorce attorney, they handle this part of the process.

4. Response

The spouse receiving the service of process needs to file a response to the petition. The responding spouse may want to dispute the alleged grounds for divorce. If there is disagreement regarding property division, support, custody, or any other issue, this should be set out in the response.

5. Negotiation

Spouses will need to negotiate their differences if there are any. This is when mediation or collaborative divorce processes work. If spouses still do not agree, they may need to go to trial.

6. Trial

If spouses cannot come to an agreement on any aspect of a divorce, they will need to go to trial where a divorce court judge will rule on the divorce agreement.

7. Creation of the Order of Dissolution

The order of dissolution is a decree that officially ends the marriage and spells out how all aspects of a marriage, including: the property and debts, custody, support and any other issues are to be divided. Two spouses that are able to negotiate on their own are able to draft an order of dissolution and submit it to the court. If this complies with the set legal requirements and both parties entered into it knowingly and willingly, then a judge approves it.

Moving Forward

After your divorce is finalized, it’s time to move forward. Here are some tips for self-care after divorce:

  • Exercise
  • Change Your Diet Up
  • Eat Healthy Foods
  • Try to Keep to a Normal Schedule
  • Get Sunshine
  • Network of Support
  • Try to Relax
  • Practice Mindfulness
  • Consider Getting Help Using a Therapist or Mental Health Professional
  • Hold Off on Having Another Relationship

Working with a Divorce Attorney

If you are facing a divorce, you should work with a divorce attorney that can take a look at your specific situation and give you advice based on it, rathis than approach it with a one size fits all mindset. Your specific situation will be particular to you and your marriage and the way your life was set up during the marriage. This might mean major financial decisions regarding retirement funds, property, child support and custody, and alimony. A divorce attorney will work with you to help you decide how you want to tackle these elements of your marriage and divorce, while also providing guidance and support. They will be able to lead you through the process while keeping you from procrastination and caving into pressure. They’ll also be able to help ensure you meet all the required timelines while ensuring that you get a fair case and trial should you need to go to court. Lastly, they’ll be able to help you find the freedom and new life you are seeking - one that is entirely on your terms. For advice on divorce, you need the expert law firm of Sevens Legal, APC.

How to File for Divorce in San Diego

Getting a divorce is not as simple as deciding you no longer want to be married and getting a court to dissolve the marriage. There are a number of requirements that must be met and procedures that must be followed in order for a couple to be divorced in San Diego County, which is why it is important to seek legal guidance from an attorney with experience handling divorces specifically in San Diego County and the surrounding counties. First, one or both parties must have lived in the state of California for at least six months and in San Diego for at least three months before filing for divorce in San Diego. If these residency requirements are met, the divorce process can proceed as follows:

  • The spouse filing for divorce (the petitioner) submits a petition to dissolve the marriage to the San Diego County Superior Court.
  • The other spouse (the respondent) is served with the paperwork and has 30 days to respond.
  • If the respondent does not respond to the paperwork, the divorce case will proceed anyway and the petitioner will be given the opportunity to request orders from the court regarding the division of marital property and, when appropriate, spousal support, child support, child custody and visitation. Six months and one day after the respondent is served with the paperwork, the divorce will be final.
  • If the respondent does respond, the spouses will exchange information about their assets, property and debts, and if they can agree on a fair and reasonable solution for dividing their marital property, as well as child custody, child support and other relevant matters, they can avoid a trial.
  • If the spouses cannot agree on certain terms of the divorce settlement, a court hearing will be scheduled.
  • During the hearing, the petitioner’s attorney and the respondent’s attorney will present evidence and witness testimony and argue their cases before a judge.
  • The judge will rule on any unresolved issues affecting the divorce case.

The manner in which your San Diego divorce case proceeds depends a great deal on the expertise of your divorce attorney and the specific circumstances of your case. For instance, a couple can choose to file jointly for divorce in San Diego, and if the marriage lasted for less than five years, there are no children under 18 involved, no real estate or large debts, and certain other criteria are met, the couple may qualify for a “summary” divorce, an immediate divorce action that eliminates the requisite six-month waiting period. Once a divorce is final, both parties are legally single and free to remarry.

Mediation and Collaborative Divorce

It is the top priority of our attorneys at (619) Divorce to help clients reach the fastest and most favorable resolution to their divorce, and that often means avoiding a lengthy, expensive and emotionally taxing trial, if at all possible. Depending on the complexity of the case and any potential disputes, it may be possible to reach a mutually agreeable divorce settlement that addresses such issues as marital property division, prenuptial agreements, alimony and child custody using an alternative method of dispute resolution, such as mediation and collaborative divorce. Mediation is a popular option for divorces in San Diego, because it tends to be faster and less expensive than divorce litigation, and it gives the divorcing spouses the opportunity to come to a private agreement regarding child custody, alimony, child support and other relevant issues, rather than leaving these important decisions up to a judge. Mediation and collaborative divorce are good options for couples who wish to resolve their differences amicably, work together to raise their children, and maintain control over the final outcome of their divorce.

How a San Diego Divorce Lawyer Can Help

There are countless issues that can arise out of a divorce, some you may not even be aware of, and while you have the right to represent yourself in your San Diego divorce, it is always a good idea to have a qualified attorney on your side, even if you expect the divorce to be uncontested. A knowledgeable San Diego divorce attorney will be proactive in defending your legal rights and protecting your future, which can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. Our attorneys at (619) Divorce will draft and file all the necessary paperwork and documents on your behalf to get the divorce process started. If any questions are raised regarding your separate or marital assets and properties, our law firm has access to forensic accountants, financial advisors and other experts who can testify in support of your case. Our legal team is committed to protecting the rights and well-being of our clients and we will use every resource at our disposal to help you get through your divorce in the fastest, least expensive and most satisfactory way possible.

Divorce can be messy, costly and exhausting and hiring the right attorney to represent your case can mean the difference between reaching a mutually agreeable arrangement with your spouse and being dragged into a lengthy and expensive trial that takes a devastating toll on you and your loved ones. That being said, even divorces that start out amicable can quickly become contentious when it comes to deciding on critical issues like alimony and child custody and visitation, and many San Diego divorce cases end up at trial anyway. If you find yourself in this situation, our attorneys at (619) Divorce will aggressively litigate your case in court and do everything in our power to get you the outcome you deserve. With more than a decade of experience handling divorces and other family law matters in San Diego, our attorneys can help you get the best possible outcome in your divorce case, whether that means negotiating a fair and reasonable divorce settlement through mediation or fighting for your rights at trial.

Consult Our San Diego Divorce Lawyers

Most people enter into a marriage with the intention of living a long, happy life together. However, not all couples are able to make marriage work and when a marital union ends in divorce, the financial and emotional cost of the divorce can be devastating for everyone involved. One way to minimize the consequences of a San Diego divorce on your life and the lives of your loved ones is to hire the right attorney to represent your case. Our knowledgeable and compassionate divorce lawyers at (619) Divorce recognize how difficult and draining divorce can be, and we will inform you of your rights under the law, so you know what to expect in your divorce case. Once you understand the basics of the San Diego divorce process and you have a divorce attorney on your side who will protect your best interests and legal rights, you can begin the process of filing for divorce in San Diego. Contact Attorney Steve Smith and our team of divorce lawyers at (619) Divorce today to schedule your free initial consultation.