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San Diego Divorce Attorneys

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Divorce is an astoundingly difficult process to ensure, both emotionally and financially.  Approximately one-half of all marriages end in divorce or legal separation in San Diego, California and nationwide.  Approximately 60% of all second and third marriages end in divorce.  While divorce is extremely hard and time consuming, people going through the relatively easy and blissful process of getting married rarely think of the consequences if their relationship does not last forever.

When going through a divorce in San Diego, it is imperative to have the guidance of a well-trained, family law attorney with significant experience in San Diego county on your side.  Experience matters.  Understanding the procedures, judges, opposing counsel, and issues involved is significant in achieving success in divorce matters.

Is it Important to Have an Experienced Divorce Lawyer?

There are many reasons why it is crucial to have a seasoned San Diego divorce attorney representing your interests if a divorce, legal separation or nullity case has been filed.  Why?  The reasons are extensive.  First, when an attorney has significant experience with an issue they do not need to spend much time researching and understanding a particular issue – they usually know it already.  As a result, while an attorney may have less experience but charges less per hour, it will ultimately end up costing more for that attorney to accomplish the same tasks as the experienced attorney.  For example, say the issue of whether the court can impute income using a rate of return on separate, non-income producing assets for a child support issue in a divorce.  The non-experienced attorney may spend 30 minutes to an hour researching this issue, while it costs nothing for the experienced, divorce expert because they already know that the Marriage of Destein case is specifically on-point to this issue.  While no practitioner of law knows everything, the more an attorney knows the more efficient they are and the less it will end up costing the client.

Second, success in divorce case is achieved through understanding the process and setting up the case for litigation at the earliest of stages.  Evidence and honesty are two of the most important keystones to presenting a winning argument in family court, and our attorneys understand that concept better than most family lawyers in San Diego.  We prepare cases in such a way that when presented to the family law court judge, the judge knows our representations to the court are accurate and therefore the likelihood is stronger that our arguments will be seriously considered by the court.

Third, approximately 80% of all divorce cases settle out of court.  Achieving an excellent result in settlement requires an understanding of the legal issues and standing firm on issues that matter to you.  It is also important to prepare well in advance of settlement negotiations to ensure the best outcome.  Our experienced San Diego divorce attorneys are excellent divorce agreement negotiators.

Fourth, if your spouse makes things difficult and you fall within the approximately 20% of cases that must have trial, you need an outstanding litigator on your side.  Litigators in divorce must be familiar with evidence, the Code of Civil Procedure, all aspects of the Family Code, and the codes and cases that may apply to a particular issue.  If your attorney is unknowledgeable or unprepared, your case will suffer.  Don’t let that happen to you.

What is the difference between divorce and dissolution?

There is no difference between the terms “divorce” and “dissolution.”  The definition of divorce is, “The legal dissolution of a marriage by a court or other competent body.”  In California, the term “dissolution” is preferred over the term “divorce” as an attempt to try and ease the brass-knuckled image of divorce litigation.  Similarly, in family and divorce cases the parties are called “petitioner” and “respondent,” rather than “plaintiff” and “defendant” for the same reason.

What is the process for divorce?

San Diego divorce cases often follow a similar process depending on whether they are “contested” or “uncontested”.  These processes are as follows:

  • Uncontested cases: These matters are far cheaper and quicker than contested cases.  Often, parties settle all aspects of their case prior to the case being filed, and the entire case, including the petition, response, proof of service of financial disclosures, and the parties’ complete settlement agreement are all filed concurrently with the court.  Most often, no court appearance is necessary.
  • Contested cases: These matters can take a relatively short time to a very long time to complete.  It almost totally depends on the issues involved and the cooperation of the opposing party.  In contested cases, the steps to complete the divorce are usually as follows:
    • Step One: Filing the case.  The petitioner files the complaint for dissolution, called the “Petition,” along with several other documents, which are then served on the Respondent.  The Respondent then has thirty days to file his or her response to the petition.
    • Step Two: Disclosures and Discovery.  In every divorce case, parties are required to prepare and serve a Schedule of Assets and Debts and an Income and Expense Declaration, along with disclosures of other material financial issues.  These disclosures are a snapshot of all assets and debts, both community and separate.  If a party needs additional information, they can serve “discovery” on the other side or on third parties.  Discovery is the mechanism to gain information and may consist of a demand for documents, subpoenas, depositions, and so forth.
    • Step Three: Temporary Motions.  During the pendency of a divorce case, either party may file a Request for Order (RFO) to request the court make temporary orders relating to anything from child custody and visitation, child or spousal support, control of property, attorney fees, and other similar temporary requests.
    • Step Four: Concluding a Case.  A San Diego divorce case concludes in one of three ways.  First, a case may be dismissed by the parties anytime.  Sometimes, parties reconcile and wish to dismiss the case.  Second, the parties may reach an agreement to resolve the case.  Third, if no agreement is reached there will be a trial where a family law judge will make the decision to resolve any outstanding issue.

For additional information about divorce, call our San Diego divorce attorneys today.  We are certified family law specialists and divorce experts that want to help you succeed in your case.  We provide a free, private consultation to discuss your options in a meaningful, straightforward way.