FAQs about Divorce in North County

California Certified Family Law Specialist

Here are several questions that we are often asked about divorce in San Diego:

How Long Does it Take to Get Divorced?

Once the divorce petition is filed and served upon your spouse, it will take at least 6 months to obtain a status only dissolution of the marriage. However, an agreement resolving all issues, except status, can be reached before six months.

AJ KM 1Can I Handle the Divorce Paperwork on my Own?

Yes. According to the State of California over 80% of Californians attempt to file divorce paperwork on their own.  This is not the percentage who successfully complete a divorce on their own which is much lower.  We provide a blend of services to help you manage the process on your own, yet have the support of paralegals or an attorney if needed.  This ensures that your paperwork is in order,  that you are prepared for each step of the process but keep costs and time frame at a minimum.

What Happens if we Can’t Agree on Every Item in the Separation Agreement?

The bottom line is that if the two parties can’t agree on all issues in a divorce, they will receive the assistance of a court ordered mandatory settlement conference before trial. If the settlement conference fails then a trial is normally set.

Who Will Get Custody of the Children?

AJ KM 2In California, normally both parents share custody of their children. San Diego Courts follow the laws and policies in California including that there is frequent and continuous contact between children and their parents, this is considered in the child’s best interest. This is the starting point. A child’s custody with a parent will be affected by a wide range of other relevant circumstances such as the age of the child, health of the child, the relationship of the child with the parent, a parents drug or alcohol abuse history, any physical abuse or neglect of the child, any criminal activity of a parent, or other mental health issues considered harmful to the child.

What Effect does Infidelity Have on Child Custody and Division of Assets?

None. California is a “no fault” divorce State.  Basically, this means that if one party wants to get divorced they may do so, even if the other party disagrees.

What is the “Date of Separation” and Why is this Important?

My practical definition of the date of separation in a divorce is the day that the marital couple stopped being a community in the eyes of the law. Now there is a requirement for physical separation as well. The dates of separation is important for many reasons as the length of the marriage itself can and will have an impact on issues such as spousal support and the division of some assets.

What are the Requirements for California to Have Jurisdiction Over a Divorce?

In order to file for a divorce in California, one of the parties must have lived in California for at least six months prior to filing the divorce petition. One of the parties must have lived in the County where you file for at least three months prior to filing.

Do I Have to Respond if My Former Spouse Serves Me Divorce Papers?

Yes, you have 30 days to submit a response. If you fail to do so, the other party can request a judgment by default, and you will not have the ability to challenge any of the orders the Court issues in your case. It is in your legal and personal interests to file a response within 30 days.