Do You Have an Exit Strategy for Your San Diego Divorce, Legal Separation or Paternity: September 2011
Do you have an exit strategy for your San Diego paternity, legal separation or divorce? Do you know what an exit strategy is? What would be your best exit strategy for your San Diego legal separation, divorce or paternity case? Every case has its own individual facts and circumstances so your exit strategy needs to be tailored for your case. An exit strategy is analyzing the case from the end result and then implementing strategies and techniques to obtain the goals in the exit strategy. In a divorce, paternity or legal separation cases, the issues must be analyzed so that the correct strategies can be implemented. In a divorce or legal separation, the issues can include custody, visitation, child support, spousal support and division of assets and debts as well as attorney fees. In a paternity case, the only issues are child support, visitation, custody and attorney fees.
First, look to how you see your life post separation. Will you be living together and sharing the same residence pending the judgment. If so, how will the bills be paid? If you are planning to move out of the residence, or want the other parent to move, who will pay for the moving expenses and how would the children be shared as well as finances pending a court hearing or judgment. Due to the budget and cut backs in the San Diego Superior Court, it can now take up to three to four months to obtain a mediation with Family Court Services and then another one to two months for the hearing before a Judge. As such, you may not have orders regarding the parenting plan or support for up to six months after your petition and summons and order to show cause motion are filed.
Second, what is your proposal for a permanent child sharing plan? This can be the most significant issues to many parents and also the most contentious. It is best if you and the other parent can reach an agreement on the parenting plan. This will reduce tension, conflict and also the involvement of a Court order which neither parent may like. Most times, the plan you come up with on your own is the best for you. If you cannot reach an agreement, then you will need to ask the Judge for an order. The procedure is to file a motion called an “order to show cause” for the temporary orders you are requesting. All orders are temporary if they are pre judgment.
Third, will you be asking for child and/or spousal support or will you be required to pay if the other parent asks. The San Diego Superior Court Family Law Judges use a program called the Disso Master and a similar program is used by the Judges in the DCSS Courts. This program calculates guideline child support which is the State of California law both temporary and permanent. The Disso Master will also calculate spousal support but this is temporary orders only and for any permanent spousal support orders the Judges use the factors in Family Law Code Section 4320. It is very important to try and get a realistic expectation of what spousal support or child support would be if you went to Court. You do not want to go to Court and have a higher order than what could possibly be agreed upon.
Fourth, what is your proposal for the division of the assets and the debts? In order to make an informed and intelligent decision as to the division of the debts and assets, you have to know what these are. There is a Judicial Counsel Form called the Schedule of Assets and Debts and this can assist in your preparation. The law divides assets and debts one half to each party from date of marriage to date of separation with some limited exceptions: gift; inheritance; negative asset case; reimbursements and some others.
If you have questions on what a realistic expectation could be for your case and what an exit strategy should look like, please feel free to contact us to discuss your individual exit strategy. Our law office can assist with running the Disso Master program and also discussed what a division of assets and debts would look like for your divorce judgment. No attorney can make a guarantee of the outcome of any case, but you should have realistic expectations.