San Diego Divorce Lawyer
Finding a San Diego divorce lawyer can be challenging. Most people are concerned with legal fees and court costs when searching for an attorney. Below are a few things you should consider before hiring a San Diego divorce lawyer. Read on to learn more.
California Divorce Overview
Divorce matters are heard at the following courthouses throughout San Diego County:
- The Central Courthouse, 220 West Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101
- The Family Law Court Building, 1555 Sixth Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101
- The Madge Bradley Building, 1409 Fourth Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101
- The North County Regional Center, 325 South Melrose Dr., Vista, CA 92081
- The East County Regional Center, 250 East Main Street, El Cajon, CA 92020
- The South County Regional Center, 500 3rd Avenue, Chula Vista, CA 91910
Your case will be heard in the area you reside. For example, if you live in El Cajon, Lakeside, or Alpine, your divorce case will be heard in the East County Regional Center. If you reside within Chula Vista city limits, your divorce case will be heard in the South County Regional Center.
Your divorce options may include one of the following:
- Legal Separation. Filing for legal separation allows a couple to live apart. The court will provide guidance on the separation of community assets and debts, child custody and visitation, and the payment of child and/or spousal support. Couples should consider filing for legal separation if they want to stay married while they attempt to resolve marital issues in lieu of filing for divorce.
- Annulment. This option is best for a person who believes her marriage is invalid. For example, if someone was already married and wed another person, then there could be grounds to obtain an annulment in California.
- Divorce. Filing for a divorce is best for people who seek to no longer be married. Filing for a “dissolution of marriage” will officially terminate the marriage.
- Summary Dissolution. Filing for summary dissolution are for couples who were married for less than five years and have no children or significant assets/debts together.
To file for divorce or legal separation in San Diego, either spouse must have resided in California for the last six months before filing the divorce petition and lived in the county in which they would like to file for the last 3 months. California law requires a mandatory waiting period of 6 months before a divorce can be finalized.
Research San Diego Divorce Lawyers
A key thing you should consider before hiring a divorce lawyer is her experience. Seek information about the lawyer’s expertise and the key areas of law she handles. Find out if you are working with an entry level attorney or veteran. A newly licensed lawyer can very well handle some divorce cases. However, be mindful that if you have issues regarding the division of assets or child custody, you may want to work with a more seasoned divorce attorney.
Get a general idea of the typical client the lawyer retains. For example, attorneys only representing “women’s rights” or “father’s rights” may not be the best fit for you. Inquire into the financial background of some of your lawyer’s clients. This may give you insight into the lawyer’s fees. Some lawyers only work with high net worth clients. Knowing the potential attorney fees you may be required to pay and whether you can afford to do so should be discussed upfront. In addition, find out up front how much of the “work” the attorney will be doing herself. Don’t pay high attorney fees when the attorney’s paralegal is doing most of the work.
At San Diego Esquire, we believe that people should not have to spend money on excessive attorney fees to obtain a divorce. We provide unbundled legal services to San Diego County residents to make working with a divorce lawyer more affordable. For example, for uncontested divorce matters, we provide legal document preparation and attorney consulting services. Before you hire any San Diego divorce lawyer, ask if there are any alternatives for solving your legal problem such as attending mediation.
If you cannot afford to hire a San Diego divorce lawyer, there are several resources you can use as an alternative. The Family Law Facilitator’s Office is available at no cost to unrepresented parents who have questions about family law issues. A facilitator can help you prepare court forms and provide general legal information. The facilitator does not represent either party and may help both parties in the case. Attend a Family Law Workshop to obtain information on the documents you need to complete to file for divorce, obtain a court order, and finish your divorce case. Through our California File for Divorce Course, we provide parties with step-by-step information on how to complete divorce forms for FREE! Skip the long lines at the Family Law Facilitator’s Office and check out our self-help resources from the comfort of your home.
Contact us to speak with a San Diego divorce lawyer.