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What You Should Know About Divorce in San Diego Superior Court: 2023

Going through a divorce can be one of the most challenging and emotional experiences in life. While it is true that some divorcing spouses [whether they have children of not] may benefit from ending their marriage, unfortunately, they will often suffer losses as well. Issues that commonly arise in divorce actions include child custody and support, alimony, and the division of assets and debt. Many people think that a spouse deemed at fault in a divorce action will be awarded less than half of the marital assets, but that belief is incorrect under CA law and infidelity is not a factor a San Diego Family Court Judge will consider in parenting plans or other issues in a divorce. It is prudent, therefore, to try to mitigate your losses and resolve your pending San Diego Superior Court case as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible even if you are not at fault in your divorce. Unfairness and injustice has occurred in San Diego Family Law Court. If you are facing a divorce in San Diego, you need a compassionate and experienced San Diego divorce attorney who can help you navigate this complex process and understand the issues that often come up in divorce actions. The law firm of Doppelt and Forney, APLC is available during this most difficult time of your life.

What Can I Do to Reduce Conflict and Stress During San Diego Divorce?

Beginning counseling early on in the divorce process can potentially benefit couples, particularly those with children, by fostering an environment that reduces hostility and animosity. Both counseling and mandatory mediation through Family Court Services [San Diego County Department] can also facilitate better communication between the couple, resulting in a more amicable and less expensive divorce process. There are numerous approaches to resolving divorce-related issues. For instance, for people tasked with determining custody and visitation rights, there are various experts, including Licensed Clinical Social Workers at Family Court Services located in San Diego Superior Court Houses as discussed above, who can assist in developing a parenting plan. There are also other experts such as those who assist parents with high conflict cases and many others. All cases are different and the attorneys at Doppelt and Forney, APLC can assist you with referrals to experts for your case.

Fault & No Fault Divorces

In a "no fault" divorce, neither spouse is deemed responsible for the termination of the marriage, whereas, in a fault-based divorce, one party is blamed for the circumstances that led to the divorce. San Diego County and California are "no fault" jurisdictions. This means that the division of assets/debts are not affected by one party having an affair. There are limited factual instances where infidelity may cause a non equal division [for example] of debt from date of marriage to date of separation. One example is when one spouse gives a gift of significant value {$5,000 diamond ring or other asset[s]} to a paramour and this may not be divided one half each in the global settlement.

Uncontested Divorce

When a couple is able to reach an agreement on the division of assets, support, and custody without requiring Court hearings, they may be able to obtain an uncontested divorce. One recommended strategy is to follow the FL 182 and link follows for your ease of review: FL-182 Form. To qualify for an uncontested divorce, however, there must be complete agreement between the parties on all aspects of the settlement. While uncontested divorces tend to be less expensive and advantageous to both parties, it's still vital for both parties in such actions to consult with an attorney to understand the laws in the relevant jurisdiction and account for potential disputes that may arise while negotiating the settlement. In this way, informed and intelligent decisions can be made about this very important part of your life. Additionally, a Judge must authorize any agreement developed in an uncontested divorce by signing the Judgment. Just because the parties agree on terms like child custody and visitation, it doesn't guarantee approval however the Judge’s [vast majority of the time] will adopt client agreements unless contrary to CA law. If the Judge declines to approve an agreement, the case may become a contested divorce. For instance, if the parties mutually agree to waive child support, the Judge may not approve their agreement since this goes against California Family Law as child support is not a parent’s right to waive.

Contested Divorce

In a contested divorce, the parties disagree on one or more issues, like child or spousal support, property distribution, child custody, or visitation. A Mandatory Settlement Conference can help to minimize or eliminate contested issues, which significantly reduces the final cost of the divorce. The more contentious the divorce, the higher the expense for all parties involved. Most cases, statistically, settle at the Mandatory Settlement Conference.

How Do You Obtain Information in a Divorce Action? Discovery

In uncontested or contested divorces, where issues such as spousal or child support or property distribution are in dispute or information needed to make an intelligent and informed decision regarding settlement, there is often discovery of all financial records, information regarding retirement and investment funds, insurance, employment records, and property titles of both parties for many years before the divorce filing. This process can be time-consuming and expensive, drastically increasing the cost of your divorce. Examples of discovery methods may include written interrogatories, demand for production of documents, request for admissions, depositions, subpoenas, independent medical examinations, and others.


The Court does not intend to use the proceeding as a means of punishing either spouse. This is particularly important because, in many family law cases, one spouse may accuse the other of lying but the Court does not always reprimand people for such conduct. In fact, the San Diego District Attorney's Office does not file perjury charges in family law cases as normal course.

Unpredictable Outcomes

Developing a divorce settlement agreement outside of Court can prevent unexpected situations. In San Diego, the Disso Master program is used to calculate child support, providing some level of assurance. No lawyer can assure the final outcome of a case, however, and pending litigation may cause unforeseeable changes. The parenting plan, in particular, is a complex issue with much room for discretion and challenging analysis.

Social Media

The usage of social media posts and email conversations as evidence in divorce and child custody cases is on the rise. These types of communications are not protected by law, regardless of your intentions when posting them. It is important to be aware of how these posts could affect you in Court. It is recommended to refrain from posting any content on Facebook or other social media platforms that you do not want a Judge to see during a divorce or custody dispute. Apart from this, there are many other factors that can impact the emotional and financial cost of a divorce.

How Can a San Diego Family Law Firm Help?

If you are facing a divorce in San Diego, don't wait to get the legal support you need. The skilled San Diego divorce attorneys of Doppelt and Forney, APLC are dedicated to helping our clients seek the best possible legal outcome. We regularly represent parties in divorce actions in San Diego and other cities in San Diego County. Contact us today via our form online or by calling us at 800-769-4748 to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help you protect your rights and your future.

Client Reviews
Dear Roy, I would like to thank you and all team members as well as office staff for helping me defend in this case. It has been a difficult time for me during the last couple of weeks, and now because of this success result, I am able to move forward with my new chapter of life, even a little late at this age!!! Again with much appreciation, I wish you all to continue to do the same with a big heart as it was with me, in helping those who are in need of your professional services. W.
Thank you for your time and energy on this case, you took so much of the worry away from me! I appreciate all of your help. I will use and recommend you to other in the future. T.S.
I want to take this time to thank you and your staff for an outstanding job with my case to terminate spousal, you are an excellent attorney Roy, and your staff is very professional and considerate to my questions and concerns of my case. Thank you very much again. T.Y.
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