San Diego Divorce Lawyers Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Starting a divorce?
Good prior planning prevents poor performance. You should start your case by developing the right plan. With the right plan, you give yourself the best opportunity to achieve your objective, and you will likely reduce costs of litigation and over all stress on yourself and your children.
How do I get to talk to an attorney?
All you need to do is contact our office at (619)234-3838 or email us by clicking this link to request an initial consultation.
What’s the initial consultation?
Our initial consultations are only $100 and entitle you to one-on-one time with an experienced family law attorney. During the Initial consultation (IC) your case will be evaluated to give you a Game Plan and options on how to best proceed. A face to face meeting is the best way to allow our attorneys to understand your unique case and all the concerns you have. An IC does not require you to hire our firm but in the event you do retain our services the same day as your initial consultation; we will apply the $100 fee as a credit toward your retainer.
How much does it cost?
The Men’s Legal Center attorneys charge $100 for an initial consultation and $295 to $350 per hour once we are hired. Every case is unique and there is no one price fits all, there are many variables that can affect the price of your case. Including how many assets, debts, properties, retirement and most importantly how much will the other side fight during the divorce.
We require a retainer up front and the amount of the retainer is determined at your initial consultation, after you and the attorney analyze your case.
When am I officially represented by one of your San Diego divorce lawyers?
Once you sign a retainer agreement with the attorney you interview with and pay the retainer fee, we are your attorney of record. If you have an active case and are in Pro Per then we will file a substitution of attorney, which will make us your new attorney of record with the courts.
What are the grounds for a divorce?
California was the first state to adopt the “no-fault divorce” concept. In California, a dissolution of marriage can be granted if the court finds that “irreconcilable differences” have caused an irrevocable breakdown of the marriage. In effect, this simply means that a married person who wants to end the marriage can do so, even if the other spouse wants to stay together.
What should I look for when selecting a divorce attorney?
Search for a legal professional who is experienced in family law. You want to make sure you are represented by an expert in the matter. Having a law firm with multiple attorneys allow for collaboration in your case analysis. You need someone who has the ability and confidence in the field as well as practicing in front of family law judges.
Can I represent myself and is retaining a San Diego divorce lawyer necessary?
Unless you have absolutely nothing to lose, make sure to consult an attorney and assess for yourself if going it alone is a prudent choice. Handling a divorce case requires analyzing your particular facts, knowledge of the law, knowledge of the court system, strategic thinking, and an ability to separate emotions when making critical decisions.
What are the procedures of a divorce?
The divorce starts with a divorce petition. The request is written by one spouse (the petitioner) which is then served to the other spouse. The petition is then filed in a state court in the county where one of the spouses lives. No matter where the marriage happened. The petition includes basic information about the marriage. Information about the spouses, children and states if there is any separate property or community property, child custody, and child or spousal support. Having a divorce attorney representing your interest is the best way to ensure you are treated fairly by the courts.
What is the difference between Legal Separation and a Divorce?
At the end of a Legal Separation, you are still married. At the end of a Divorce, marital status is terminated and your status is returned to “single.” Other than the difference in marital status, the processes are identical. It is also important to note that a Legal Separation is not a mandatory step in the process of Divorce.
How long does it take to get a Divorce in California?
The soonest a married person can become single in the state of California is six (6) months from the date the petition for divorce is served on the other party. However, it can take much longer if the matter is contested. You may have the opportunity to bifurcate the action and have your marital status terminated while continuing your divorce action on all the other matters. To complete the remaining issues you will need to settle out of court or litigate the issues at trial and this can take months or even years. We know this process is very difficult emotionally and, therefore, we make it our goal to try to bring closure to cases as expeditiously as possible.
Who determines how assets and debts are divided between spouses in a divorce?
When going through a divorce your spouse and you must choose how to best divide property, assets and debts. If an agreement can’t be reached you can request the court to do it for you. Under California’s community property laws, assets and debt spouses acquire during the duration of the marriage belong equally to both and therefore must be divided equally in the divorce.
What if my spouse lives in a different State than the one I am in?
Every State requires that an individual establish residency in a specific county before submitting for divorce in that State. If you currently live in California, you need to be a resident for at least 6 months prior to filing for divorce in California. California also requires that at least one of the spouses live in the county where the divorce is filed for a minimum of three months before filing.
How soon after a divorce can I remarry?
The divorce process can be lengthy, there is a 6-month statutory waiting period once the divorce is filed before your marriage can be finalized. Once your divorce is finalized, and the court has legally dissolved your union, you are free to move on and start your life with a new spouse.
Should I move out of the family residence?
The answer is “NO,” unless ordered by the court or determined as a sound strategy after consulting one of our San Diego divorce lawyers. Please call us today and schedule a consultation before making a decision to move out of the family residence.
What exactly is alimony or spousal support?
Alimony is firmly based upon need and is gender neutral. Spousal support is not meant to unjustly favorite one party over the other. The idea is to strike a balance and allow both parties to live somewhat similarly for a specific period of time just as you did during the marriage. Alimony is intended to help the lower earning spouse in making the transition to divorce.
How does the court decide children custody in the State of California?
The court uses the best interests of the children standard. The court usually determines that it is in the best interests of the children to have frequent and continuous contact with both parents. Additionally, the court likes to establish a parenting plan that promotes stability for the children. Depending on your facts, a court-ordered parenting plan can range from having the parents sharing the children equally to only allowing one parent to have very limited time with the children.
Can my “ex” move away with our children if I am not granted custody?
While relocating children is rarely in their best interests, it is possible for your ex to move away with the children. There are requirements that must be met first in order for such a move to take place.
How do I protect my custody and visitation rights?
Do not remove yourself from your children’s life because of a divorce. You need to continue spending time with your kids. The more time you spend parenting your children, the higher your chances are to maintain that role during and after a divorce.
How much will I have to pay for children support?
Below is a link to a children support calculator. Please note these are only approximations. The attorneys at the Men’s Legal Center are adept at calculating and exploring all possible variables that can be present in your case, that affect the final children support amount. Examples of these variables include health insurance, medical needs, hardships, and other considerations.
What happens if a parent does not pay court ordered child support?
If this happens don’t worry. The Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984 allows district attorneys to help you with the collection of court ordered child support even if the parent refuses to. Normally, the district attorney will serve the parent with papers in the attempt to set up a meeting with the district attorney to discuss a payment arrangement. The papers also warn that if the person fails to follow the instructions, jail time could be imposed.
Are all the decisions made in my divorce judgment final?
Orders in a final judgment can be modified prospectively in the areas of children custody, visitation, and support. Modifications of the orders in the final judgment can be sought when one of the parties circumstances change. If you feel your circumstances have changed, you should have an attorney analyze whether your judgment should be modified. Contact the Men’s Legal Center to set up an initial consultation to meet with one of our San Diego divorce attorneys.
How does the property division aspect of our divorce work?
California is a community property state, which means that property, earned or acquired during marriage, will be divided by the courts as evenly as possible. Identification, characterization and valuation of assets can be a complicated process that should involve the help of an experienced San Diego divorce lawyer.
Is mediation the right path?
Mediation can be a very effective option in a divorce if both parties are willing. Mediation tends to be more useful in issues of children custody and visitation. While it may be an effective option, it is important to consult an attorney before making any decisions to mediate, negotiate, or litigate your case.
Am I responsible for my “ex’s” credit card debt in a divorce?
Normally all debts incurred during marriage are considered community property debt and both parties are equally liable, but there are exceptions. Contact the Men’s Legal Center to have an experienced attorney explain this analysis to you.
Do all San Diego divorce cases go to court?
No. There are other options available to complete a San Diego divorce case including mediation and collaborative divorce. However, these approaches are often unfamiliar to the parties and should be explained by an experienced San Diego divorce lawyer.
Overall, divorce is a difficult situation for all parties involved, and if you are ready to take the steps necessary to dissolve your marriage, you need to seek the help of San Diego divorce lawyers who have been fighting for the rights of fathers, husbands, and non-custodial parents for decades.
Contact the Men’s Legal Center today to schedule an initial consultation at (619) 234-3838.