In San Diego, many spouses, unfortunately, go through a divorce and need an attorney for help. Divorce in San Diego can be very complicated and knowing the law and having realistic expectations can make a substantial difference in both the outcome of the case and reducing legal fees and costs by not pursuing goals which are either not in accord with the law or unrealistic. It is very difficult to represent yourself in a divorce given the high level of emotions. A lawyer can help you analyze objectively and prepare a settlement offer in accord with the law.
Divorce can be very complicated with issues of custody, visitation, child support, spousal support, division of assets, division of debts, attorney fee requests, pleadings, motions, mandatory settlement conferences and trials to name a few. The most contentious, in many cases, is the issue of custody and visitation or the “parenting plan” California is a mandatory mediation State. San Diego is a recommending county which means that the mediator will make a written recommendation if the two spouses cannot reach an agreement on their parenting plan.
San Diego has several family law courts. For divorce cases, the Judges are assigned at random and your case will stay in the same family law department for the entirety of the case. Judges do rotate so the same Judge may not hear the entire case but you do not have a choice in which Judge is selected nor does the attorney. The main family law court house is in San Diego on 6th Avenue but there is another family law court house downtown on 4th Avene. Three other court houses in San Diego hear divorce cases including Vista, Chula Vista and El Cajon. They are all on the same system for the court room and Judge which is selected to hear your case.
It is important to also know where to go for the mandatory mediation which is called Family Court Services in San Diego. While there are two court houses in downtown San Diego, only the main court house has a Family Court Services facility. The court is very backed up with cases and, if you do not appear for the mandatory mediation without “good cause”, the Judge has the ability to sanction up to $1,500. “Good cause” is a term of art within the law and normally includes being in the hospital, being in custody or some other very good reason why there was a non appearance at the mediation. In San Diego courts, a mandatory mediation is set when the order to show cause for custody and visitation [or modification of custody and visitation] is set as long as there was no prior mediation within the last six months. If the mediation is not attended, then the parties appear before the Judge and can ask for a re assignment to the mediation. Normally, a Judge will not make orders for custody and visitation without a mediation and report unless there are emergency circumstances. An emergency is normally considered only for abuse, molest and neglect.
Our law office is located in San Diego in Rancho Bernardo. We would be pleased to offer you a complimentary and confidential consultation regarding your divorce and help you to resolve if possible by agreement. Please feel free to contact us to discuss how we can help with your San Diego divorce.