Many people are unsure if, or when, they should seek the advice of a San Diego divorce lawyer. If you have a marriage of more than ten years, have children, own a home, have issues regarding spousal and/or child support, then you should seek the advice of a trained and experienced attorney. Our education, training and experience allow us to advise our clients of their rights and also strategies and techniques to try and obtain their goals. Having an attorney will reduce the stress and tension of going through a divorce. Below is some general information regarding a Divorce in California.
In general, San Diego Divorce is a very complicated area. There are two types of divorce: summary and non summary. In addition, ending a marriage can also be by way of legal separation or annulment. In the below article, these will be discussed. In addition, there will be a discussion of the San Diego Family Law Court locations and the website for the Superior Court as well as some referral agencies for persons seeking advice on family law. Filing fees change so make sure to verify what the correct fee is prior to submitting the pleadings for filing. Fee waivers are available at the court house for indigent persons. Many persons, understandably, look at going through a divorce as an emotional investment however it will make it easier to settle if it is looked at as a business decision. There are no “winners” in a divorce and only degrees of losing.
There are several courthouses in San Diego County. However, only a limited number of them are for divorce and family law cases. The main court house is in San Diego and has six departments and is an entirely family law court. There are six Judges, one for each department, and San Diego implements the fast track for civil cases which include family law cases. This means that one Judge will hear the case from the beginning to the end. The assignments of the Judges are chosen at random by the Clerk’s Office. There is also a divorce and family law court in Chula Vista however this is a court house which also has other departments for other types of legal matters such as criminal, civil, and others. The family law departments are located primarily on the second floor. There is another divorce and family law court in El Cajon and the departments are all located on the second floor and there are three of them. Another court which handles divorce and family law cases is in Vista and these are on the first floor and there are five departments total. There is a Clerk’s Office in each court house for filing pleadings.
Divorce and family law is a very complicated area. There are four ways in which representation for court can occur: in pro per; family law facilitator; paralegal or attorney. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Representing yourself as your own attorney is not advisable. As the old saying goes for attorneys “any attorney who represents themself has a fool for a client” and this is a true statement. This has the advantage of no legal fees however there is also no advice nor counsel. In San Diego County, in the San Diego court house, Chula Vista court house, El Cajon court house and Vista court house, there is an organization called the Family Law Facilitator. This is a county department which assists persons unrepresented by an attorney fill out their forms and with the filing. The advantage is that this does not cost any money and there is still some advice given by a county agency. The disadvantage is that you will not receive legal advice and counsel nor will anyone argue your case in court except yourself. A paralegal also offers legal services however these are not complimentary and there is a fee for this service. One advantage is that the fees of the paralegal may be less than that of the attorney. One of the many disadvantages of using a paralegal is that they cannot go to court and argue your case for you nor can they give legal advice and can only prepare the pleadings. An attorney can counsel, advice, represent and discuss strategies and techniques based upon education, training and experience to try and protect client’s rights and obtain their legal goals. The disadvantage of hiring and the cost of an attorney is far outweighed by the benefits in most cases. As to child support, in San Diego County, this is handled by the DCSS (Department of Child Support Services) and is located in the San Diego Superior Court House located at 220 West Broadway in San Diego on the 5th floor. This organization provides assistance for support issues at no charge to the custodial parent.
Contact Us Online or call us at 858-312-8500 in Southern California. We will be pleased to offer you a complimentary and confidential consultation with an experienced San Diego divorce attorney up to a length of 30 minutes to discuss strategies and techniques to assist in protecting your rights and trying to obtain your legal goals.