2015: 9 Procedures You Must Follow in Your Pending Divorce, Legal Separation or Paternity Case in San Diego
Once a pleading is filed, and it does not make any difference whether a paternity, divorce or legal separation family law case, it is not possible to “unfile”. As such, once filed there is no changing. Credibility is essential in any case and, especially, in a family law case. Filing a pleading which contains inaccurate information can be used against you in your family law case to impeach your credibility and try and make the Judge not believe what you are saying even though it is the truth. It is easy to make a mistake and, many times, pleadings go through several drafts so it is essential that the one which is filed is true and correct.2. MAKE SURE TO FOLLOW THE SAN DIEGO LOCAL RULES
For non attorneys, following the local rules can be most difficult. These rules apply to motions for the parenting plan, support whether spousal or child and many others, Not complying with the local rules can mean a denial of your request procedurally and not substantively. For example, there are mandatory judicial council forms which need to be filed depending on the motion and request. Not filing the correct forms can result in a negative outcome. Also, there are strict time lines for filing and serving pleadings. These are governed by the San Diego Superior Court Local Rules and also the Code of Civil Procedure. There are many such “cross over” laws which apply in family law cases including the Evidence Code.3. BE FAMILIAR WITH THE CALIFORNIA FAMILY LAW CODE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
The primary law code for family law which includes legal separation, paternity and divorce is the Family Law Code. The Family Law Code can be ordered in a book or obtained on line. It is not possible to be familiar with every law in the Code but certain codes are used more often than others. For example, if your issue is custody and visitation, then three primary Family Law Codes are Sections 3020, 3040 and 3011. If the issue is the effect of domestic violence upon a court order for custody and visitation, then one primary Family Law Code is Section 3044. Each case is different and a careful analysis of the applicable Family Law Codes is essential for the legal theories of your case.4. PROVIDE ALL DOCUMENTS FOR THE PRELIMINARY DECLARATION OF DISCLOSURE
Under San Diego law, both sides must file the preliminary declaration of disclosure. This is comprised of two forms: Schedule of Assets and Debts and Income and Expense Declaration. The Income and Expense Declaration requires financial information to be attached [paystubs; W-2; tax returns and profit and loss statements among others]. The Schedule of Assets and Debts requires documents such as bank statements and account statements and mortgage and credit card statements among others.5. HAVE REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
This may be one of the most crucial “do’s”. To best obtain a realistic expectation, you should consult with an experienced family law attorney in San Diego. In this way, you can be advised of what is in accord with the law and this will allow you to make the most informed decision for settlement or litigation.6. MAKE DECISIONS BASED ON INFORMED AND ACCURATE ADVICE
While your mother, father, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, friend, co worker or others who may have been through a family law case have advice to give, it may not be accurate. Also, each case is different and their case may be much different from yours. Educate yourself as much as possible and seek expert opinions as needed.7. DO NOT FIGHT WITH THE OTHER PARENT
Emotions run high in any family law case. When children are involved, often much higher. All love their children and want them to live with them as much as possible. Given that the parents are not living together, it is impossible for each parent to have the children 100% of the time as when they were living together. It is easy to argue and fight over the children but this is not a good strategy and will only increase tension and conflict. For parenting plan disputes, for example, best not to argue with the other parent and to set up the mandatory mediation with Family Court Services.8. TRY AND REACH AGREEMENTS AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
While, in the beginning or middle of end of your family law case, it may seem as though full agreements may be impossible, you may still agree on certain issues. For example, both of you may not want multiple court hearings. Both of you may not want to spend thousands on legal fees and costs. It is a good strategy to try and reach agreements on as many issues as possible and then try and resolve the remainder by agreement and, if not, this limits the issues for court.9. LISTEN TO YOUR ATTORNEY
If you have an attorney, listen to your attorney. Often, parents do not listen to their attorney’s advice which can bring disastrous consequences.HOW CAN A LOCAL SAN DIEGO FIRM HELP YOU IN YOUR PENDING CASE?
The law firm of Doppelt and Forney, APLC has experience in representing parents and spouses in family law cases in San Diego Superior Court. Take advantage of their offer for a thirty minute confidential and free in-person or virtual consultation by contacting their office.