2015: What can You do in Your Pending Paternity, Legal Separation or Divorce to Settle Rather Than Litigate in San Diego Superior Court?
Many cases, whether a divorce, paternity or legal separation, do not settle since one or both parties do not agree based on incorrect information. Issues in a divorce or legal separation include visitation, custody, division of assets, division of debts, child support and alimony among others. For example, if your issue is child support in San Diego Superior Court in the Family Law Division, knowing what amount the Judge will order can allow you to settle without a court hearing. In addition, you may be able to settle for better than “in accord” with the law. There have been many cases where parties reached an agreement which was better for them that what is in accord with the law. The optimal is when this is a “win-win” situation. For example, for pre judgment support payments, there are factual situations when it may be better for both parties to have “family support” rather than delineated into both child and spousal support.IF A PARENTING PLAN DISPUTE, ASK FOR MANDATORY MEDIATION WITH FAMILY COURT SERVICES AND SEE IF AN AGREEMENT CAN BE REACHED
Disputes over custody and visitation can be among the most contentious and are the most common reason agreements and settlement do not occur and the parties litigate. Of course, for most parents, where their children live is the most important aspect of their case. Since the parents will not be living together, both parties will not be able to live with their children or child 100% of the time. The issue then becomes who the child will live with and when. It is understandable that many parents cannot reach an agreement on their own for this and need assistance in order to help resolve given the high level of emotion and that each parent wants to spend as much time as possible with their child. In San Diego Superior Court, included in the filing fees, is the option to attend Family Court Services mediation. This mediation is mandatory whenever a motion for custody and visitation is filed and is with a Licensed Clinical Social Worker hired by the County of San Diego. The LCSW meets with both parents and tries to get them to reach an agreement which is in the best interests of their children or child since best to not have a third party who has never met you or your children [Judge] make the decision where your children live. If you do not reach an agreement, as San Diego is a recommending county, then the mediator writes a recommendation and sends a copy to each parent and a copy to the Judge. The Judge will follow this recommendation most of the time since the LCSW is an expert on the best interests and parenting plans and the Judge relies on their expertise.NEGOTIATE IN GOOD FAITH FOR SETTLEMENT
It is important that you negotiate in good faith. Making an offer, and then withdrawing the offer when accepted, will lead to hard feelings and mistrust. This will make settlement much more difficult so make sure any offer you send is one you will live with if accepted. In addition, your negotiations should take into account the evidence, facts and law. For example, if you were married over 25 years, it is not good faith to demand a termination date of spousal support in the judgment since the law does not permit termination of spousal support in a long term marriage [more than ten years] at date of judgment.INVOLVE THIRD PARTIES AS NECESSARY INCLUDING EXPERTS
Certified Public Accountants can be invaluable in forensic accounting issues. Special Masters can be invaluable for legal issues. Parenting Facilitators can help resolve parenting disputes. Non experts in the legal field, such as a friend or relative who is not biased for either party and only wants to help settle, may offer suggestions not considered.HOW CAN A LOCAL SAN DIEGO LAW FIRM HELP YOU
The law office of Doppelt and Forney, APLC can assist you with realistic expectations and help resolve your case with the minimum of litigation as much as possible. They offer a complimentary 30 minute virtual consultation at their office which is confidential. You can discuss your individual case.