Divorce by its very nature positions spouses against each other. No matter how long or short the marriage was, as soon as the couple decides to separate, they become adversaries. That is, they are necessarily pursuing separate and individual interests, with the likely exception of the best interests of their children. Because of these unfortunate but real dynamics, parties are typically encouraged to hire their own family law attorneys to represent their separate legal and financial interests. Throughout a divorce proceeding, a couple may dispute any number of issues, including any entitlement to spousal support, the division of property, and even a court’s personal or subject matter jurisdiction over a party or the matter in general. To ensure that your rights are preserved and legally protected, you may wish to contact an experienced San Diego family lawyer as early as possible in the proceedings.
In a recent California divorce case, the husband appealed from a default judgment that required him to pay attorney fees and spousal support to his former wife. A default judgment occurs when the “responding” party fails to answer or “appear” in the case at a date specified in the pleadings. Here, the parties were married in 1978 and have two adult children. In 1993, the family moved to Chile, where the wife was born. The couple separated in 1995, and the wife filed a dissolution petition in 1996 in a California court. Although the court granted the divorce, the wife successfully moved to vacate the judgment.