Part Two: FAQ's for Family Law Cases in San Diego Including Legal Separation, Divorce and Paternity With Answers: 2014
Yes, spousal support and alimony as synonymous in a legal separation or divorce case. The length of time for the spousal support is, in large part, determinative of how long the marriage was and the rules are the same for a divorce or legal separation. If the marriage was 10 years or more, under California law, the Judge will not normally set a termination date for spousal support at the date of judgment unless an agreement by the parties. Instead, the Judge will “reserve” over the duration meaning a motion to modify or motion to terminate may be brought in the future which requires the legal standard of a change of circumstances once a permanent alimony, or spousal support, order. As to the amount, for temporary, spousal support orders, the Judge uses a program called the Disso Master which calculates temporary spousal support however this is not the same criteria as for a permanent spousal support order. A spouse support order which is permanent is calculated by the factors under Family Law Code Section 4320 which takes into account many factors including the marital standard of living, ages and health of the parties, earning ability and medical conditions, domestic violence and much more. This is a detailed analysis of each factor.WILL THE JUDGE LISTEN TO OUR CHILDREN AND CONSIDER OUR CHILDREN’S WISHES?
In San Diego, it is very unlikely that the Judge will allow your children to testify in court as a minor. There is a procedure for this however most Judges are extremely reluctant to allow children to testify as this is not [normally] in their child’s best interest. There is a procedure, however, which does allow children to have input into the parenting process. If the child is of sufficient age and maturity, either or both parents can ask to have the Family Court Services Mediator interview the child. This allows for the child to have direct input into the mediation recommendation and allow for the Judge to consider the child’s preferences in the parenting plan. Just because the child wants to live with one parent, this does not mean that the Judge has to agree. Sometimes, children wish to live with the parent who is more lenient with home work and allows the child to miss school when not appropriate. Similarly, if a parent allows a child to be unsupervised and there are truancy or dependency or drug or alcohol problems, a Judge will take this into consideration. Also, of course, the age matters. The Judge may well take the preference of a 17 year old who is a senior in high school much differently from a 10 year old.WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS IN HANDLING MY FAMILY LAW CASE?
You have many options. First, you can retain an experienced family law attorney to represent you. Second, you can ask the Family Law Facilitator to assist you in filling out the forms. Third, you can review the San Diego Superior Court official website to self educate on the procedures and forms needed for your case. Fourth, you can go to the San Diego County Law Library and self educate. Fifth, you can go to internet sites for information on google which are either San Diego family law attorney or legal sites.WHERE CAN I GET THE JUDICIAL COUNCIL FORMS I NEED FOR MY FAMILY LAW CASE?
You can go to any of the family law court houses to the Clerk’s Office which are located in the main family law court house in downtown San Diego, the Madge Bradley court house downtown in San Diego, the North County court house in Vista, the South County court house in Chula Vista or the East County court house in El Cajon. The easiest and least expensive way to obtain the forms is from the San Diego County Superior Court website which has forms which can be printed our and used for filing.HOW CAN A SAN DIEGO FAMILY LAW FIRM HELP ME?
The best place to start to have your questions answered with accurate and up to date information is to consult with a law firm which is local. The Law Firm of Doppelt and Forney, APLC is located in San Diego in Rancho Bernardo. In your free 30 minute virtual consultation, you can have your questions answered for your particular case since all have unique and individual cases. This consultation is also confidential whether or not you hire the law firm for legal representations.