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2015: What You Need to Know About Your Divorce in San Diego Superior Court: Items to Consider

What You Should Know About Divorce in San Diego Superior Court

Going through a divorce can be one of the most challenging and emotional experiences in life. While divorcing parties and their children may benefit from ending their marriage, unfortunately, they will often suffer losses as well. Issues that commonly arise in divorce actions include child custody and support, alimony, and the division of assets and debt. Many people think that a spouse deemed at fault in a divorce action will be awarded less than half of the marital assets, but that belief is incorrect as California is a “no fault” state and the Judges in San Diego Family Law Court will not consider infidelity in division of assets and debts conceptually. It is prudent, therefore, to try to mitigate your losses and resolve your pending San Diego Superior Court case as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. If you are facing a divorce in San Diego, you need a compassionate and experienced San Diego divorce attorney who can help you navigate this complex process and understand the issues that often come up in divorce actions.

What Can I Do To Reduce Conflict and Stress During San Diego Divorce?

Beginning counseling early on in the divorce process can potentially benefit couples, particularly those with children, by fostering an environment that reduces hostility and animosity. Both counseling and mediation for a parenting plan can also facilitate better communication between the couple, resulting in a more amicable and less expensive divorce process. There are numerous approaches to resolving divorce-related issues. For instance, for people tasked with determining custody and visitation rights, there are various experts, including Licensed Clinical Social Workers at Family Court Services located in San Diego Superior Court Houses, who can assist in developing a parenting plan. One recommendation is to settle your case per the FL 182 checklist and please review page 3 #3 for the uncontested procedures as this is the most efficient process and link follows for your ease of reference: https://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/fl182.pdf

Fault & No Fault Divorces

In a "no fault" divorce, neither spouse is deemed responsible for the termination of the marriage, whereas, in a fault-based divorce, one party is blamed for the circumstances that led to the divorce. San Diego County and California as a whole are "no fault" jurisdictions. Conduct which has financial impact to the community due to infidelity can be considered in limited circumstances. One circumstance is where one spouse is supporting their paramour during the marriage by providing rent or vehicle or employment or cash itself. Normally, all debts incurred from date of marriage to date of separation are divided equally however this illustration of a debt may be confirmed to the spouse who is making the rent or cash payments 100%.

Uncontested Divorce

When a couple is able to reach an agreement on the division of assets, support, and custody without requiring Court hearings, they may be able to obtain an uncontested divorce. To qualify for an uncontested divorce, however, there must be complete agreement between the parties on all aspects of the settlement. While uncontested divorces tend to be less expensive and advantageous to both parties, it's still vital for both parties in such actions to consult with an attorney to understand the laws in the relevant jurisdiction and account for potential disputes that may arise while negotiating the settlement. Additionally, a Judge must authorize any agreement developed in an uncontested divorce. Just because the parties agree on terms like child custody and visitation, it doesn't guarantee approval. If the Judge declines to approve an agreement, the case may become a contested divorce. Link is above for this specific procedure in Judicial Council Form FL 182. If possible, agreements are best and the Judge’s will [vast majority of the time] approve agreement[s] of the parties.

Contested Divorce

In a contested divorce, the parties disagree on one or more issues, like child or spousal support, property distribution, child custody, or visitation. The more contentious the divorce, the higher the expense for all parties involved.

How Do You Obtain Information in a Divorce Action? Discovery

In contested divorces, where issues such as spousal or child support or property distribution are in dispute, there is often significant discovery of all financial records, information regarding retirement and investment funds, insurance, employment records, and property titles of both parties for many years before the divorce filing. This process can be time-consuming and expensive, drastically increasing the cost of your divorce. Examples of discovery methods may include written interrogatories, demand for production of documents, request for admissions, depositions, subpoenas, independent medical examinations, and others. It's important to note that the purpose of divorce proceedings is solely to dissolve the marriage, provide for the best interests of the children, and distribute property. In a divorce or legal separation in San Diego Family Law Court, both spouses must voluntarily disclose information regarding assets and debts and income and expenses. This disclosure is called the preliminary declaration of disclosure and is comprised of two forms: Schedule of Assets and Debts and Income and Expense Declaration. Documents also have to be produced and disclosed and no initiated discovery is needed and mandatory. In many cases, it is the best strategy to wait for the disclosures before initiating discovery procedures such as those above.


The Court does not intend to use the proceeding as a means of punishing either spouse. This is particularly important because, in many family law cases, one spouse may accuse the other of lying, but it is rare for the Court to reprimand people for such conduct. In fact, the San Diego District Attorney's Office almost never files perjury charges in family law cases. There are, however, sanctions and attorney fees [as well as potential issue sanctions] which a Judge may impose as a consequence of non disclosure or false disclosure.

Unpredictable Outcomes

Developing a divorce settlement agreement outside of Court can prevent unexpected situations. In San Diego, the Disso Master program is used to calculate child support, providing some level of assurance. No lawyer can assure the final outcome of a case, however, and pending litigation may cause unforeseeable changes. The parenting plan, in particular, is a complex issue with much room for discretion and challenging analysis. The Disso Master is used in family law court and the program is a cost to the user. There is an alternative method for self calculation of child support in San Diego and this is through the DCSS child support calculator. Link follows and the amounts of both programs are within a few percentages and a very good resource. It is advised to calculate the child support {whether payor or payee} so you can make an intelligent decision about the amount: https://childsupport.ca.gov/guideline-calculator/

Social Media

The usage of social media posts and email conversations as evidence in divorce and child custody cases is on the rise. These types of communications are not protected by law, regardless of your intentions when posting them. It is important to be aware of how these posts could affect you in Court. It is recommended to refrain from posting any content on Facebook or other social media platforms that you do not want a Judge to see during a divorce or custody dispute. Apart from this, there are many other factors that can impact the emotional and financial cost of a divorce.

How Can a San Diego Family Law Firm Help?

If you are facing a divorce in San Diego, don't wait to get the legal support you need. The skilled San Diego divorce attorneys of Doppelt and Forney, APLC are dedicated to helping our clients seek the best possible legal outcome. We regularly represent parties in divorce actions in San Diego and other cities in San Diego County. Contact us today via our form online or by calling us at 800-769-4748 to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help you protect your rights and your future.

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