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2015: Strategies for Divorce, Paternity and Legal Separation Depending on the Goals Sought in San Diego Superior Court


Whether your case is a paternity, divorce or legal separation, it is crucial to consider what strategies you will need to implement to try and obtain your legal goals. If your goal is to be the payee or child and/or spousal support, then you will need to file a request for order to protect your rights for retroactivity in the event you cannot reach an agreement on support. If your goal is to have your children live with you and have specific court orders for the time you spend with your children and the time your children spend with the other parent, you will need to file a request for order for custody and/or visitation. This not only will set a court hearing in which a San Diego Superior Court Judge can issue orders for your parenting plan but will also have the effect of setting a mediation with Family Court Services. Since the Judges will follow the Mediators recommendations more often than not, preparation for the mediation is a very important strategy. One of the best strategies is to analyze what outcome would [most likely since no one can guarantee the outcome of any case] by ordered by the Judge and then negotiate a settlement in accord with the law as soon as possible. This strategy, if results in an agreement, will also obtain the goal of not having to go to court and certainty of result. In addition, this strategy will reduce your stress and tension since going to court can be very time consuming and disturbing to many parents and spouses. This strategy is dependent on the accuracy of the legal analysis so understanding of California family law as well as pleadings and all other procedures. A false analysis can result in not obtaining goals which [otherwise] may have been able to be obtained.


Income for support can be a complicated issue. If, for example, one of the spouses is not working at the time of the divorce, then what income is used for calculation of child and/or spousal support? The payee, of course, would like to use $0 since they are not working and do not have current income. The payor, of course, would like to use a number consistent with their earning ability since difference when married and when getting a divorce or legal separation. One strategy for the payor in this situation is to have a vocational evaluation performed. This is an advanced strategy and a professional who is qualified under the Family Law Code to give an expert opinion gives what the current and future earning ability is and the payor can ask the Judge to use this amount for the support calculations and not the actual amount the other spouse is currently making. Similarly, a Notice of Lodgment may be submitted which contains the opportunity for the spouse to be employed {if they have the ability and are not [for example] disabled} from job offerings {help wanted} on many internet sites. This can be more complicated since, if the spouse who is to receive support is over 65 years of age, then they do not have to work full time for spousal support income to be imputed. The issues of custody and visitation can also be most complicated. An advanced strategy to try and resolve any allegations of health, safety and welfare, can a psychological evaluation of one parent, both parents and/or the child or children by a licensed and qualified expert who then renders a professional opinion as to the parenting plan. More complicated cases may require the appointment of Minor Counsel and this is an attorney who represents the children and or child directly and not either parent. For issues or reimbursement requests or tracing or characterization of property, the Court may appoint a Special Master for complicated forensic evaluation of the issue.


The law firm of Doppelt and Forney, APLC offers a free 30 minute virtual consultation in their office with an attorney who is licensed in the State of California to practice law. This is a confidential consultation and you can explain your goals and strategies to try and obtain the goals can be discussed. Please feel free to contact their office for your pending San Diego family law case.

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