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

WHETHER YOUR DIVORCE IS FOR FAULT OR NO FAULT, THE RESULT IS THE SAME AND DIVORCE WILL BE GRANTED BY SAN DIEGO SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE

As above, reasons for divorce can differ widely and, while couples and their children may be better off after a divorce than before, the unfortunate fact is that all parties lose something. Issues which are common are visitation, custody, alimony, child support, division of debt and division of asset. Many believe that a spouse who is at fault [infidelity for example] will receive less than one half of the assets but this is not correct. As the saying goes: “There are no winners in divorce court and only degrees of losing”. As such, your goal should be to minimize the loss and resolve your pending San Diego Superior Court case with as less tension and attorney fees and costs as possible. Divorce can be emotionally and financially devastating for everyone involved. It is important to understand some important legal issues that arise during a divorce so that you can be better prepared.

WHAT CAN I DO TO TRY AND REDUCE CONFLICT AND STRESS DURING MY DIVORCE IN FAMILY LAW COURT IN SAN DIEGO?

Early intervention, such as starting divorce counseling early in the process may help couples, particularly those with children, create an atmosphere in the divorce that will minimize anger and enmity. Mediation and counseling also help improve communication between the couple and lead to more amicable and less costly divorce proceedings. There are many strategies to resolve issues. For example, if your issue is custody and visitation, there are many professionals who can help you with your parenting plan including the Licensed Clinical Social Workers at Family Court Services located in the San Diego Superior Court Houses where family law cases are heard.

FAULT & NO FAULT AND UNCONTESTED AND CONTESTED

A “no fault” divorce means that neither party is considered at fault for the dissolution of the marriage. San Diego is a “no fault” County and California is a no fault State.

Uncontested Divorce – In an uncontested divorce the parties are able to agree on the distribution of property, terms of support and custody without court hearings. Agreeing to divorce does not mean a divorce is uncontested; there must be complete agreement on all of the divorce settlement terms. Uncontested divorces are less costly and may benefit both parties. It is still important to speak with an attorney, even in cases of uncontested divorce, to understand the laws in the jurisdiction where the divorce will be filed and because circumstances may change if a dispute arises while negotiating the settlement. In addition, a judge must approve the agreement. Approval is not guaranteed simply because the spouses agree on child custody, visitation and other terms. If the Judge does not approve the matter may become a contested divorce. For example, if the parties agree to waive child support, the Judge will not approve since this is in contradiction to California Family Law.

Contested Divorce
– Contested divorces are those where there are disputes over spousal support, child support, property distribution, child custody or visitation or any other issues. Early mediation can help reduce or eliminate the contested issues, significantly reducing the final cost of the divorce. More conflict in a divorce will result in a higher cost for everyone involved.

WHAT IS THE PROCEDURE TO GET INFORMATION IN A DIVORCE?

Discovery
– Contested divorces in which spousal or child support or distribution of property is contested will often include extensive discovery of all of the financial, insurance, retirement funds, investment funds, real estate, car titles and employment records of each party for several years prior to the filing of the divorce. The time and expense associated with discovery will drastically increase the cost of your divorce. Discovery can include the following: written interrogatories; demand for production of documents; request for admissions; depositions; subpoenas; independent medical examinations and others.

Punishment
– Divorce proceedings are intended only to dissolve the marriage, distribute property and provide for the best interests of the children. Courts will not use the proceeding to “punish” a spouse. This is very important since, in many family law cases, one spouse believes the other spouse is “lying” and when the Judge finds out the Judge will punish this conduct. This rarely happens and a filing of perjury in a family law case by the San Diego District Attorney’s Office is almost unheard of.

Unpredictable Outcomes
– Working out a settlement before going to court will help avoid surprises. For child support, in San Diego, a program called the Disso Master is used. While this gives some certainty, no attorney can guarantee the outcome of any case nor can a party to a pending litigation case. Some issues, such as the parenting plan, have a lot of discretion and much more complicated to analyze.

Social Media
– Social media posts and email communications are increasingly being used as evidence in divorce and child custody cases. These communications are not protected under the law. No matter what your intention when posting something online, consider how it could come back to haunt you in court. The best advice is not to post any content you do not want a Judge to see from Facebook or other social media during a divorce or custody dispute.

There are many other issues that affect the emotional and financial cost of a divorce.

HOW CAN A LOCAL SAN DIEGO FAMILY LAW FIRM HELP?

The law firm of Doppelt & Forney, APLC can assist you with your pending family law case in San Diego Superior Court. Their office accepts cases in all of the five

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