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San Diego Divorce Lawyer

Going through a divorce can be an incredibly tumultuous, stressful ordeal. It is a process that not only affects your life but may also have a profound impact on your loved ones. In addition, the numerous aspects of a marriage that must be resolved and agreed upon can impart incredible stress on you.

If you require assistance during a divorce in San Diego, please contact Wilkinson & Finkbeiner, LLP today to discuss your case. Our San Diego divorce lawyers have extensive experience helping all residents in and around San Diego County resolve their family law and divorce matters. We strive to provide our clients with peace of mind and minimal stress to all loved ones involved.

Divorce can be a complex, contentious, stressful process. We aim to help you through that painful ordeal with an optimistic outlook on your future. Contact us today to see how our San Diego divorce attorneys can help.

Why Choose Wilkinson & Finkbeiner for Your San Diego Divorce?

Wilkinson & Finkbeiner, LLP provides exceptional representation and council for those who are dealing with all matters regarding divorce and the dissolution of marriage in San Diego.

  • We have successfully helped clients throughout Southern California with all of their divorce and family law matters for over 10 years.
  • Our attorneys are especially well-qualified for all family law matters, including divorce. They are recognized as Certified Family Law Specialists, understanding all the nuances and complexities that must be resolved in the course of a divorce.
  • We are ultimately committed to you and your well-being. Your needs always come first, and we keep all clients well-apprised of the status of their case through clear, transparent communication.

Ultimately, we are here to provide the support you need during a difficult, transformative time in your life.

Why Do You Need a Lawyer for a San Diego Divorce?

If you are considering a dissolution of your marriage or are currently in the process of a divorce in San Diego, it is highly recommended to retain a knowledgeable attorney with extensive experience in family law. Filing for dissolution of marriage is just one simple step of the divorce process; much of the other processes involved in ending a marriage can quickly become complex, complicated, and potentially contentious. A San Diego divorce attorney who has represented clients in divorces previously can help navigate this process with ease and peace of mind, ensuring that the process continues with as little friction as possible.

Additionally, a divorce attorney can help you resolve any issues or explore any options you may be considering throughout the divorce process. Questions of child custody, spousal support, and child support are not easily answered with an expert in family law by your side. An attorney can help you determine the proper course of action for all of these aspects of a San Diego divorce, ensuring you are receiving the proper support you deserve.

Finally, it is highly recommended to consult an attorney even after your divorce has officially been filed and approved. The circumstances surrounding your divorce and custody or support agreements may change over the years, requiring modifications to the prior agreements you have with your ex-spouse. A divorce attorney in San Diego can help you navigate any modifications that are required in your divorce agreement to meet your current circumstances.

How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Divorce Lawyer?

Our San Diego Divorce attorneys, like nearly all family attorneys, charge hourly fees for our services.  However, because every case is different and we develop custom solutions for each of our clients, it is nearly impossible to predict exactly how much it will cost to help resolve your divorce case without knowing the facts of your case.  In fact, quoting an exact amount without that information may be doing you a disservice.

Additionally, some websites may advertise low hourly rates.  However, lower rates do not always equate to lower costs overall.  An attorney more experienced in divorce cases may charge a higher hourly rate but may be able to successfully resolve your case more efficiently, thus lowering your final costs.

For an accurate quote on the cost and scope of our divorce services, please contact us today and schedule a confidential consultation.

An Overview of Divorce in San Diego

The following is an overview of the steps, considerations, and other processes involved in the dissolution process in San Diego and California. It is important to note that this is a basic overview; some of the more intricate details vary significantly from divorce to divorce, depending on the circumstance. It is always recommended to consult an experienced San Diego divorce attorney before taking action on a dissolution of marriage.

What Are My Options for Ending a Marriage in San Diego?

There are three ways to end a marriage or registered domestic partnership in the state of California:

  • Annulment. Also known as “nullity of marriage,” this option essentially erases your marriage from record, as if it never happened. Annulment is only an option in situations where a marriage is not legally valid – situations where a marriage was technically against the law. This can include marriages involving incest, polygamy, fraud, or other situations where a party may potentially be in danger.
  • Legal separation. This option does not legally end a marriage but allows a couple to live apart, with the courts giving guidance on money, property, and parenting issues. This is an appropriate option for those who want to work on their marriage, rather than ending it entirely.
  • Divorce. Also known as a “dissolution of marriage,” this officially ends your marriage. After divorce, you are single again, and you can re-marry when you wish.

It is important to note that, for many, divorce may not actually be the best option for separation from your spouse – legal separation may provide a better alternative based on your needs. A San Diego divorce attorney can help you determine the best option for you and your family.

Are There Any Residency Requirements for Divorce in San Diego?

In order to qualify for either a legal separation or a dissolution of marriage in San Diego, there are certain residency requirements that must be met. For a legal separation, there is just one requirement: at least one of the persons in the marriage must be living in California as a permanent resident.

For a divorce, the residency requirements are much stricter. In order to qualify, either you or your spouse must have:

  • Lived in California for the last 6 months, AND
  • Lived in the filing county for the last 3 months.

If you or your spouse currently have lived in different counties for the past 3 months, you may be able to file for divorce in either county.

The Divorce Process in San Diego County

Regarding divorce, California is a “no-fault” state – any quantifiable proof or wrongdoing is not required to file for a dissolution of marriage.

The general process for divorce generally has three steps: Petition for Dissolution, service of filing and response, and finalization of divorce.

Filing a Petition for Dissolution

In the eyes of the court, the divorce process officially starts when you file a Petition for Dissolution with San Diego County. This form essentially notifies the court that you intend to file for divorce and why you are filing for divorce.

Although this can be a simple form, you must disclose all the terms of your dissolution within this form. This can be incredibly extensive, including considerations regarding:

Essentially, anything that may be impacted by your dissolution may be disclosed in your initial filing.

The Course of Action Following Serving and Response

Along with the Petition of Dissolution, a Summons form will also be filed against the other party to indicate a court action. In addition, any completed forms will be served to the respondent to notify them of your intent to file a dissolution of marriage.

When this occurs, there are three possible routes that your divorce may take:

  • A default proceeding, in which the respondent does not respond or fails to respond within the given time limit. Under such a proceeding, the divorce continues without any of the respondent’s input.
  • An uncontested proceeding, in which all the parties agree to the terms laid out in the Petition – and any other issues that may arise. Often, these terms are also made official in a separate marital settlement agreement, and enforceable contract that is also filed with the court.
  • A contested proceeding, in which the respondent does not agree to the terms and both parties cannot come to an agreement. In such a case, a trial is usually held, and the court then decides on the issues that are obstructing the dissolution.

Contested proceedings are often the most contentious, so it is always recommended to consult with your prospective ex-spouse before filing to ensure all the terms are satisfactory for both parties. However, issues do arise, and in such situations, a divorce attorney in San Diego is essential to help you navigate any disputes or disagreements.

Finalization of Divorce

When all the issues have been sorted out and both parties can agree to the dissolution, the divorce may be officially approved and finalized. In California, it is important to note that there is a six-month waiting period from filing a petition to a final judgement of dissolution by the courts. This is done by the courts to make an attempt to preserve the institution of marriage – and that by waiting for a set amount of time, a couple may be able to reconcile their marriage instead of dissolving it.

Through all phases of the divorce process, it is highly recommended to consult an experienced family law attorney to help ease the burden of stress and legal work on your behalf. At Wilkinson & Finkbeiner, LLP, our San Diego divorce attorneys can give you peace of mind by lending you the support you deserve throughout every step of the dissolution process. As Certified Family Law Specialists, we have extensive experience and expertise to help you during this potentially stressful, frustrating time.

San Diego Divorce Statistics

As the second-most populous county in California (and fifth in the United States), the cities in San Diego County see a large number of divorces. In fact, as of 2020, nearly 10.1 percent of the over 18 population (249,496 people) in San Diego County are divorced, with another two percent (48,875 people) married but separated.

By geographical region, East San Diego County has the highest percentage of divorced residents, with the South area having the lowest share:

  • East – 12.11 percent
  • North Coastal – 10.46 percent
  • Central – 10.35 percent
  • North Central – 9.89 percent
  • North Inland – 9.08 percent
  • South – 9.00 percent

Within these regions, La Mesa has the highest percentage of divorced residents with 13.97 percent, followed closely by Central San Diego with 13.24 then Carlsbad with 12.13 percent. Other notable regions include:

  • La Mesa – 13.97 percent
  • Central San Diego – 13.24 percent
  • Carlsbad – 12.13 percent
  • Chula Vista – 11.42 percent
  • Oceanside – 11.33 percent
  • Coronado – 10.98 percent
  • Del Mar / Mira Mesa – 8.13 percent
  • Escondido – 9.74 percent
  • North San Diego – 8.41 percent

The area with the lowest percentage of divorced residents? The Pendleton area. This is likely due to the prevalence of Camp Pendleton, with more than half the population falling in the 15-24 range and employed by the U.S. Armed Forces.

San Diego Resources for Divorce and Family Law

The divorce process can be lengthy and trying – but familiarizing yourself with the ins and outs can make it more manageable. Our divorce attorneys have the experience, education, and knowledge to make the divorce process approachable and easy to understand. Our San Diego Divorce Attorneys are here for you every step of the way.

In San Diego, divorce and family law cases are handled at one of six locations.

  • The Central Courthouse – The first permanent courthouse built in San Diego, hears divorce and family law cases at 220 W. Broadway in downtown San Diego.
  • The Madge Bradley Building – Two courtrooms located at 1409 4th Avenue.
  • The Family Law Court Building – A six courtroom building located downtown at 1555 6th Avenue.
  • The East County Regional Center – A shared court for all of Eastern San Diego County located at 250 East Main Street in El Cajon.
  • The South County Regional Center – Hears family law cases for all of Southern San Diego County located at 500 3rd Avenue in Chula Vista.
  • The North County Regional Center – A shared court facility for all of Northern San Diego County located at 325 South Melrose Dr. in Vista.

Contact Our San Diego Divorce Lawyers Today

If you or a loved one are currently going through the divorce process and require legal assistance, please contact us immediately to see how we can help you today. Our San Diego divorce attorneys understand the struggle and stress a dissolution can bring to both you and your loved ones, and we want to help take that burden from you as soon as possible.

Schedule a consultation today and see how we can help.

Covid 19 Update: We are accepting new cases and handle everything electronically and remotely, so our clients never have to leave their homes. Click here to learn more.

Covid 19 Update: We are accepting new cases and handle everything electronically and remotely, so our clients never have to leave their homes. Click here to learn more.