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Divorce - Your Exit Ticket in San Diego to an Abusive Marriage

The process of divorce in San Diego is governed by state laws so whatever your reason for wanting a divorce, the legal steps remain unaffected. But if you are a victim of abuse and have decided that divorce is the only way out, you need to put in place a carefully thought out exit plan. There are many programs in San Diego County which help battered spouses. This is not a gender issue in San Diego County and many women have been convicted in San Diego Superior Court of domestic violence as have men. There are shelters which can assist with providing temporary housing. There are organizations which are available to help battered spouses. You do not want the court and system thinking you are the irrational one by leaving and need to document.

Exit Plan

When you talk to your divorce attorney he/she will need some documentary evidence to create a profile of your marriage. What you want to do is to start collecting anything related to your family finances. Examples of these are bank statements, credit card bills, your spouse’s pay stubs, and receipts for purchases. Make copies and store them in a safe place, like with a trusted friend. While you are still married, you can open your own bank account and, if community money is deposited in this account, you will need to disclose and it will be divided one half each in the settlement. The issue in divorce court in San Diego is not the name on the bank account {in most cases} but only the character of the money in the bank. In San Diego, there are only three types of character of property: quasi community; separate and community.

Educate Yourself

You need to educate yourself on your best strategies to try and obtain your goals. This requires you to gather information and to speak with informed professional. You may need to speak with a CPA. You may need to speak with a divorce attorney who has experience in issues of domestic violence. Your local domestic violence center and bar association could also assist. As above, spouses of domestic violence may aided by legal aid services and feel free to contact San Diego Legal Aid.


If a restraining order is needed you will need to apply for one. If it is granted by the court the Judge may order the spouse to exit your home and not to contact you pending a hearing in which evidence is presented to the Court. Alternatively you might be asked to leave if your spouse is able to present a convincing case that you have committed domestic violence. The danger of a failed restraining order is that an angry spouse could return home even more enraged because of your effort to have them forcibly removed from home. You will need to decide if you are better off staying away for a while and moving in with friends or family. If you face imminent danger which is a criminal offense, call for police intervention and ask them to accompany you and your children to a shelter and for protection.

Filing Your Divorce Application

Once you are safely separated, you file the divorce application and serve the divorce papers on your spouse. Depending on the local laws you might be able to cite abuse, violence, and/or cruelty as grounds for divorce however this is not the case in San Diego. While this ultimately could impact custody, alimony and other issues in the case, there are only two grounds for divorce in San Diego court houses. If you live in a no-fault state, such as California, abuse is not a grounds to check the box on the petition for dissolution for filing at the San Diego Court House.

In terminating an abusive marriage you may need expert professional legal help. The family law firm of Doppelt and Forney, APLC of San Diego handles all divorce issues including those that stem from an abusive marriage. The firm also deals with child custody and support, spousal support, property distribution, and alimony.

Call 858-312-8500 to schedule a free 30-minute virtual consultation.

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