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San Diego Family Mediation Center

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Getting Divorced in San Diego

getting divorced in San Diego

Many people when they are getting divorced in San Diego, they tend to do a lot of initial research. It isn’t out of the ordinary to learn about the entire process before stepping foot inside a mediation or attorney’s office. It is beneficial to do preliminary research, but it is vital that you don’t attempt to do your divorce yourself. Knowledge can empower you to make better decisions, but the divorce process as a whole can be complicated. We have seen it time and time again when people try to complete court documents on their own and end up wasting valuable time and money in the process. Leave it to the experts and contact the mediators at SDFMC. We are happy to assist you in getting the help you need to file your divorce.

Here is a bit about getting divorced in San Diego so you can come in for your free consultation prepared.

The Petition

The petition is the initial paperwork that you file with the court to begin the divorce. The amount of paperwork is rather small, and you will only need necessary information regarding your date of marriage, address, children’s information (if applicable), as well as some basic requests of the court. If you need temporary support, it could get a bit more complicated. Every case is different, and this is why it is best to have a plan.

Financial Disclosures

When getting a divorce, it is mandatory that each spouse reveal their finances to each other completely. You must be honest and forthcoming with all your financial statements. This includes assets and debts. If you attempt to hide an asset, and the other spouse finds it, they are entitled to 100% of it (rather than 50% in CA) so make sure be clear on everything you own.

Child Custody & Child Support

When you are getting divorced in San Diego with children, you will have to calculate guideline support as well as establish child custody. Calculations of what guideline child support is determined mainly by income and time percentage of custody. Although, there are other financial situations taken into account. Your mediator can plug all the numbers into a special calculator that is designed to inform the parties of their child support obligations.

You will also discuss a parenting plan. A parenting plan will be the schedule you follow (unless you require flexibility) in who will have the children and when. You will also discuss holidays, school vacations, and other scenarios that could impact a schedule. We work with clients to create a parenting plan that works for both parents. The benefit of going to mediation is you can get pretty creative in your parenting schedule.

Spousal Support

In mediation, we address spousal support options for divorcing couples. Sometimes this would take the shape of a traditional monthly payment. Sometimes spouses come up with creative ways to negotiate assets to negate the need for spousal support altogether. Some couples agree on a lump sum or other creative methods to help the supported spouse get back on their feet. I have seen great agreements that included provisions that had the supporting spouse pay for training so the supported spouse could get a better paying job. This worked as a win/win for them both.

Creation of the Marital Settlement Agreement

When you are at the end of negotiations, the mediators will create a marital settlement agreement, also known as an “MSA.” This is a 25-35 page legal contract between you and your spouse that documents all the agreements you made during the mediation process. You will likely receive a draft ahead of time to review. You can make approve terms or make changes, just keep in mind that the changes also will need to be approved by your spouse. Once everything looks good, you will come into the mediation office for the final signing.

The Final Signing

The end of getting divorced in San Diego ends with a final signing of the MSA along with some final court documents. Everything will be filled out and ready for your signature, which will need to be notarized. The mediator should arrange for the notary to be at the office with you during this time. If you have any questions regarding the final paperwork, this is your chance to ask. After everything is all signed, the mediator will make copies and send it to the court to be filed.

The Timeline on Your MSA Being Filed

The time it takes for your final paperwork to be processed can vary, but on average will take three to four months. This is all up to the courthouse. Depending on what court location you are filing at (this is up to your address) it could be quicker or longer. Once the judge processes your paperwork, you will get a signed and stamped filed copy mailed to your address. If you move during this time, make sure to call your mediator’s office and notify them.

When Will I Be Officially Divorced in San Diego?

The timeline depends on many factors. In San Diego, there is a six-month “cooling off period” before you can be officially divorced. This means from the time that the Respondent is served with the petition, you have to wait at least six months before you are divorced. The judge will assign a date that the divorce is final, and it will be listed on your stamped copy of the MSA.

This is a lot of information, but it is crucial that you understand precisely how to get a divorce in San Diego and how mediation works. Litigation is a much more drawn-out process. If you have questions or would like assistance with your divorce, contact us at (858) 736-2411 today!