Procedural Posture for Your Family Law Case in San Diego Superior Court in 2015: Divorce & Legal Separation: Part One

FILING THE PETITION IN A LEGAL SEPARATION OR DIVORCE CASE IN SAN DIEGO

In any divorce or legal separation case in Superior Court in San Diego, one spouse must file the petition. In a legal separation or divorce, you must invite the Court to have power and authority and jurisdiction over your community estate. This is in contrast, for example, to criminal law in which the State can file criminal charges without either party filing themselves. The Petition is a mandatory pleading and a California Judicial Council Form. Many of the pleadings referenced in this article are mandatory forms for use in San Diego Superior Court. This is a summary of some procedures and not a comprehensive list.

SERVING THE PETITION IN A DIVORCE OR LEGAL SEPARATION CASE IN SAN DIEGO

The Petitioner must be served. Personal service is mandatory. Anyone over the age of 18 who is not a party to the action may personally serve however licensed process servers are the recommended strategy in case there is ever a dispute regarding personal service. There is an alternative procedure which is the Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt. In this procedure, the Respondent signs the judicial council form and this constitutes personal service for court purposes and is the recommended strategy since having the Respondent personally served at home or at work can increase tension and conflict however, in some circumstances, immediate personal service is needed so that the Standard Family Law Restraining Orders are effective upon the Respondent. These are effective on the Petitioner upon filing. Judicial Council forms may be found on the San Diego Superior Court Website. A link below is provided for your reference.

http://www.sdcourt.ca.gov/FILING AND SERVING THE RESPONSE

The Response must also be filed and served. The service of the response, however, does not have to be by personal service and can be service by mail to the address on the pleadings with a proof of service [another judicial council form] filed and served as well. In some cases, the parties can agree to a procedure called a Default By Agreement. In this procedure, the Response is not filed and an agreement is filed with the Court. Both parties need to agree on all since this procedure requires a full agreement and no issues to be litigated or disputed.

STATUS CONFERENCE

If both parties are self represented, the Court will set a status conference. This date is set when the Petition is filed. Both parties have to be present and the Court will ask if the case can settle or needs to be set for a motion or mandatory settlement conference or trial or other judicial proceeding.

FAMILY RESOLUTION CONFERENCE

If one or both parties are represented by an attorney, the Court will set a family resolution conference. The Court will ask that the preliminary declarations of disclosure [more detail below] are served and a proof of service filed with the Court. The Court will then inquire if the parties can settle and continue the family resolution conference or if the parties cannot settle and a mandatory settlement conference needs to be calendared.

PART TWO

Part two of this article will discuss the below additional procedures:

  • MOTIONS FOR CHILD CUSTODY, CHILD VISITATION, SPOUSAL SUPPORT, CHILD SUPPORT, TEMPORARY EXCLUSIVE USE AND ATTORNEY FEES
  • PRELIMINARY AND FINAL DECLARATIONS OF DISCLOSURE
  • MANDATORY SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE
  • TRIAL
  • MARRIAGE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS
  • JUDGMENT
  • POST JUDGMENT MOTIONS
HOW CAN A LOCAL AND EXPERIENCED FAMILY LAW FIRM HELP YOU

The law firm of Doppelt & Forney, APLC has experience in the procedural requirements for processing a divorce case from filing of petition through judgment and also post judgment motions. Whether you have just started your case or are in the litigation process, feel free to contact their office for a 30 minute consultation which is at no cost to you and private whether you use their legal services or not.

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