San Diego Divorce FAQs
Q: What are the grounds for getting a divorce (also referred to as a “dissolution of marriage”)?
Go here for the steps in the divorce process and to find out if the process is the same for San Diego County as it is for the rest of the state of California.
A: California follows the “no-fault divorce” concept. In other words, in California, a dissolution of marriage can be granted if the Court finds there to be “irreconcilable differences” that have caused an irrevocable breakdown of the marriage. In effect, this means that if a married person wants to end their marriage, that person can do so, even if the other spouse does not agree.
Q: What legal procedure is required to dissolve my marriage?
A: To dissolve your marriage, it is necessary to file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in the Superior Court in a state where you have resided for six (6) months, and in the county where you have resided for three (3) months. The Petition requires disclosure of information pertaining to your marriage statistics, assets, obligations, grounds for dissolution of marriage, and the names and ages of your children, if applicable.
If children are involved, a Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) must be filed to show where they have lived and that no other custody suits have been filed. After filing the Petition and UCCJEA declaration, the Summons, Petition and UCCJEA declaration are served on your spouse, who must then file a Response and his/her own UCCJEA declaration with the Court within 30 days.
While waiting for trial, the parties and their divorce attorneys can attempt to settle the case. In certain cases, it is possible for you, your spouse and the divorce attorneys to meet with a judge prior to trial in a Settlement Conference. These judicially supervised meetings often lead to an amicable settlement of the case. Many times, Court orders are necessary to govern the parties prior to the conclusion of the case. A procedure known as “Request for Order” is available to obtain such orders. At a Request for Order hearing, a judge will issue temporary orders pertaining to spousal support, child custody and child support, and orders restraining certain types of conduct.
Q: What if my spouse had an affair?
A: California is a no-fault state, so generally it won’t matter if you or your spouse had an affair during the marriage. However, a spouse’s dealings with a new partner or mate may have some impact on child custody depending on the specific facts of the case. There may also be some issues if a spouse is using community property assets to finance the affair.
Q: Do I really need a divorce attorney?
A: Getting divorced is one of the most complicated and significant events that many people will ever encounter. The outcome of your divorce will have far reaching consequences and it’s in your interest to obtain the best outcome possible. A divorce attorney is essential in this process, especially when you have valuable assets that you want to protect.
Q: How long will the divorce take?
A: Most divorces take between six and eighteen months.
Q: Should I try mediation?
A: Mediation may be the right choice for you if:
- There has been no domestic violence for which the perpetrator refuses treatment.
- Both spouses are willing to try to resolve their issues in good faith.
- Both spouses agree to be honest about their financial situation and intentions regarding children.
- If there has traditionally been unequal bargaining power between the spouses, both spouses may wish to have an attorney with them at the mediation session. It’s a mediator’s job to make sure the discussion is balanced.
If the above conditions don’t apply to your situation, it is wise to seek legal representation from a reputable divorce attorney like the team at Renkin & Associates. For further information, please contact us at (619) 299-7100 or send us an email to schedule a case evaluation.