2015: Seven Divorce, Paternity & Legal Separation Resources And Advice For San Diego Families In A Pending San Diego Superior Court Case

Whether your case is a legal separation, paternity or divorce in Family Law Court in San Diego, there is some advice which many find helpful. Below is basic information to assist in minimizing additional issues in your pending family case whether they are division of assets, division of debts, alimony, child support or the actual parenting plan in custody and visitation cases. This is only a limited summary of some issues and does not address all.

HOW CAN I FIND THE SAN DIEGO COURT HOUSES FOR LEGAL SEPARATION, PATERNITY AND DIVORCE CASES IN SAN DIEGO FAMILY LAW COURT?

There is nothing more frustrating than being late to court and the Judge has already made a decision as you did not know where to go and did not schedule enough time given traffic and distance to be timely at your court hearing. There are many court houses in San Diego County which hear family law cases.  However, it is important to note that not all of the court houses have a family law department.  Your residence location in San Diego County will determine which court house will be able to hear your paternity, legal separation or divorce case.  There are five court houses which hear family law cases in San Diego County.  The main court house is located in downtown San Diego at 1555 Sixth Avenue.  This court house is used exclusively for family law cases.  The other court house downtown is located two blocks away on Fourth Avenue and is called the Madge Bradley.   The court house for South San Diego County is on 500 Third Avenue. The court house in East San Diego County is located at 250 East Main Street. The court house in North San Diego County can be found on 325 South Melrose. For your convenience, the office San Diego Superior Court website link is below.

http://www.sdcourt.ca.gov/

IS THERE A DRESS CODE? WHAT SHOULD I WEAR FOR MY HEARING?

Appearance is very important when you attend any kind of court hearing.  Because the Judge does not know anything about you, there is a good chance that you will be judged on your demeanor and the way you present yourself.  For this reason, you should always wear professional attire to court.  This means no shorts, t-shirts, flip flops, workout gear or beach wear. It is best to dress conservatively in much the same way as you would for a job interview.

IS PARKING AVAILABLE?

Unlike many major metropolitan areas, most San Diego court houses (except for the ones in downtown San Diego), have free parking.  However, you should note that the spaces are limited. Always try to arrive at court early since being late can result in a default judgment for your case as above.  If your case is being heard at one of the downtown locations, you can park at metered parking or in a paid lot.  Please note that a ticket can cost over $40 and there is the possibility that you will be towed during certain hours of the day in certain locations.  Be sure to bring enough quarters or appropriate payment for parking.

WHAT TYPE OF SCREENING IS THERE AT THE COURT HOUSE?

All persons who enter any of the public court houses have to go through the security screening process. This will include an X-Ray of your bags, briefcases, purses and any other items you may be carrying. You will also have to walk through a metal detector.  Be sure to make sure you do not attempt to bring weapons or contraband into the court house.  This may seem like a simple request, but many people forget they have mace, pocket knives, tasers or other restricted items in their purses or pockets.  Every year, there are multiple arrests made at the security checkpoints for attempting to bring in illegal items. DO NOT miss your court hearing because you forgot you had a restricted item with you.

IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN DO TO PREPARE FOR MY CASE AHEAD OF TIME?

Yes, this is a very important part of your case. However, in general, if you are testifying in court, it is vital to rehearse what you will say during your hearing.  If you can, practice with someone that can critique you.  Parents and spouses should be aware that if they choose to take documents to the stand to refresh your memory, then the opposing side can also ask to see these, so it is a good idea to make sure they include no confidential information.  If you are representing yourself, then you will have to testify yourself and then cross examine the opposing party.  For the cross examination, you can have a list of questions or notes to help you.  Additionally, make sure to review all your pleadings files before you go to court. There are many others however these are crucial to help you present your case in the best possible manner.

DO I REALLY NEED AN ATTORNEY?

This is one of the most commonly asked questions that we receive from clients.  The simple answer is no, but the longer one is yes. Essentially, if a person has been married less than five years, there are no minor children, there is minimal community property, few debts, no spousal support issues and the parties agree o all issues, then a summary dissolution can usually be granted.  However, if one party disagrees on any of the issues, then you will need to file for a non-summary dissolution.  It is highly recommend that if parents have disputes about a parenting plan or support, division of assets or debts or separate property claims, they should consider hiring an attorney.  These types of issues can be complex and having an attorney on your side can make a difference between walking away happy and walking away upset because you did not achieve the outcome you desired in your case. Once you enter into a judgment by agreement [such as a marriage settlement agreement] it can be difficult to go back and change so critically important you understand what your rights are and realistic expectations for outcomes prior to making any agreements.

HOW CAN Doppelt & Forney, a Professional Law Corporation HELP ME WITH MY CASE?

The law firm of Doppelt & Forney, a Professional Law Corporation  is a firm with many years of exceptional family law experience. Our firm has represented many clients just like you in the San Diego area in their family law cases.  We are located in Rancho Bernardo on the I-15, off Bernardo Center Drive, with free parking and an elevator.  Please feel free to contact our office for a complimentary and confidential consultation.  Come see us today to get help with your family law issues.

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Phone Number: 800.769.4748
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