Why Should I Want the San Diego Court to Have Jurisdiction or Power Over My Community Property Estate in My Legal Separation or Divorce in San Diego in 2014?

WHEN IT IS APPROPRIATE FOR COURT INTERVENTION IN MY DIVORCE OF LEGAL SEPARATION IN SAN DIEGO SUPERIOR COURT?

There are only two reasons why a Judge would make orders for your legal separation or divorce in San Diego. The first is a ground which is very uncommon: incurable insanity. This requires an expert medical opinion that the medical condition of insanity can never be cured. The second is a ground which is the most common: irreconcilable differences. Irreconcilable differences, under the law in San Diego, is a very nebulous concept. Certainly, this can include unfaithfulness and adultery as well as other issues which can negatively impact a marriage such as drug addiction, alcohol addition, gambling addiction, refusal to work and contribute to the finances of the marriage and many others. The reasons for a divorce are as varied as those divorcing and the Judge does not inquire, at the time the status of the marriage is dissolved as to the specific grounds and only the two generic ones above. The spouses returned to the status of single and unmarried [except in a legal separation judgment] and in San Diego either spouse who wants a divorce judgment will obtain one but it may take more time and court hearings if no agreement. Normally, except for restraining orders and other limited relief, a Judge will not make orders for spouses within a marriage. In either a legal separation or divorce, the Court needs to be “invited” to intervene. This is done by one of the spouses filing a petition for either legal separation or divorce. This is unlike other legal areas such as criminal law in which the government may issue warrants and open cases without being asked for any party.

WHAT JURISDICTION DOES THE SAN DIEGO SUPERIOR COURT HAVE IN MY LEGAL SEPARATION OR DIVORCE?

The San Diego Judge has jurisdiction over all family law related issues. These would include, for example, terminating the marital status and granting judgment of divorce or legal separation. If the spouses have children, then the Court would have the power and authority to make orders as to where the children live and when each of the parents see their children and under what conditions. If there is a child or children, the Court would have jurisdiction to order child support. Depending on income and other factors, the Court would also have the power to award spousal support, or alimony, to one spouse. In addition, the Court has the authority to divide the assets and debts and also order attorney fees and other orders under the Family Law Code and Code of Civil Procedure among others. In general, the Court has complete jurisdiction over the family law case.

WHAT GIVES THE SAN DIEGO SUPERIOR COURT THE AUTHORITY TO EXERCISE POWER OVER ME?

There can be an exercise of power for in person jurisdiction or subject matter jurisdiction. In person jurisdiction is when the Court can exercise power over an individual due to, for example, the person living in San Diego and being personally served in San Diego. The Court can also obtain in personam jurisdiction many other ways and this is very complicated and may require legal analysis. Subject matter jurisdiction may be obtained when, for example, one spouse has been a resident of the State of California for six month and San Diego for three months before filing the petition for divorce and their spouse is out of state and served and there is not a divorce case pending in any other state. For a legal separation, there is no residency requirement and the petition can be filed and served immediately. As you can see, there can be cases where a legal separation, for example, is filed in San Diego and a divorce is filed in another state. In these cases, rather than litigate in two states with the same parties, it may be appropriate to try and resolve without lengthy court appearances if at all possible.

HOW CAN A LOCAL SAN DIEGO LAW FIRM ADVISE ME OF MY RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES?

Jurisdiction is a very complex area of the law. Consultation with an experienced attorney is essential if there is any issues as to whether the San Diego Court can exercise its jurisdiction over a party. If there is an issue, then it is essential to make a “special appearance” since filing a response or making a general appearance in court may waive any jurisdictional issues. If you have a jurisdictional, or other family law issue in San Diego, please feel free to contact Doppelt & Forney, APLC for a complimentary and confidential consultation whether your retain the firm for legal representation or not.

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