In San Diego, is it Possible for one Case to be a Divorce, Legal Separation and Paternity?
There are four types of primary family law actions in San Diego: divorce; legal separation; paternity and nullity. How can one spouse have been involved in a paternity, legal separation and divorce all with the same other spouse? It is possible in San Diego Superior Court for this to occur and it has. The issues are all the same with the exception of paternity cases having only the parenting plan and child support while the divorce and legal separation can also have these two issues but also issues of spousal support and debt and asset division. There are other issues, such as attorney fees, but the main issues in family law cases include spousal support, child support, visitation, custody and a division under the California Family Law Code of all that is owned and all that is owed which is part of the community.
For a paternity case in San Diego, the mother and father must not be married at time of birth or conception. It is possible for a paternity case to be filed even though the parties are married and filing for a legal separation or divorce at the same time. As an example, if the parties were not married in 2010 and their child was born in 2007 and they married in 2010 and now are divorcing or obtaining a legal separation in 2013, then the parties would need to file a paternity case for their minor child since the child was not born from date of marriage to date of separation or the 300+ days prior to marriage or after date of separation needed for jurisdiction through the marriage itself. As such, even though married, the father or mother would need to file a complaint to establish a paternal relationship in the San Diego Superior Court.
When married, a spouse can file for legal separation instead of for a divorce. A legal separation is the same as a divorce in the orders for custody, visitation, child support, spousal support, division of assets and debts and other issues. The difference between a legal separation judgment and a divorce judgment is that neither spouse is allowed to remarry except with a divorce judgment. This also allows the non member spouse to be able to continue as a dependent for insurance coverage for health which can be impossible to obtain given age and pre existing medical conditions or be so costly as to be prohibitive. If a legal separation judgment is obtained, then if either party ever wants to remarry, then a divorce petition needs to be filed and a divorce judgment obtained.
When married, if there is a filing for legal separation by one of the spouses, the other spouse can still request a divorce and not legal separation. This request is always granted in San Diego Superior Court as this is a no fault state. One party can contest and it can mean this process is delayed but, eventually, the divorce will be granted. This is as to the marital status only and the issues in the divorce such as division of debt and asset, spousal support, child support and the parenting plan are not affected by this legal status termination. The only issues would be for medical insurance coverage or if one spouse passes away before the judgment on the remaining issues if the case is bifurcated [separated] for the marital status.
In addition, reconciling after a legal separation or divorce judgment does not invalidate the judgment. If you have any questions regarding your paternity, legal separation or divorce case in San Diego, please feel free to contact Doppelt & Forney, APLC for a complimentary and confidential consultation.