Chula Vista Divorce Lawyer
Successfully managing a divorce is trickier than most people realize. Whether your divorce is contested or uncontested or you have children, our Chula Vista divorce attorneys offer you a wealth of relevant experience to work with. If you need legal help, call San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC, at (619) 866-3756.
Since we have years of experience navigating the troubled waters of divorce in Chula Vista, CA, there isn’t much that can happen that we haven’t seen and successfully handled before. We look forward to the opportunity to do the same for you.
We bring a comprehensive blend of legal and financial expertise to your case. Our founder, Ms. Puja Sachdev, is the first attorney in greater San Diego to earn the designation of Certified Divorce Financial Analyst.™ Ms. Sachdev’s background in finance and business, coupled with her deep understanding of family law, ensures that we will approach your case with a balanced perspective.
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How San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC Can Help You With a Divorce in Chula Vista, CA
At San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC, we provide various services to meet your unique needs. Our approach is designed to be comprehensive, covering all aspects of your divorce process.
Here are some specific ways our Chula Vista divorce attorneys can help:
- Legal guidance and advice: We can offer you advice on California divorce law to help you understand your rights and obligations.
- Asset and property division: We can assist you in the division of your marital assets, including real estate, investments, and personal property.
- Child custody and visitation rights: We can help negotiate child custody arrangements and visitation schedules that both meet your needs and serve the best interests of the children.
- Child and spousal support calculations: We can help determine the appropriate levels of child support and spousal support by taking into account income, living expenses, and the needs of the children.
- Legal documents: We will prepare and file all necessary legal documents with the court.
- Representation in court: We will stand up for you in court proceedings, especially in contested divorce cases.
- Mediation and settlement negotiations: We can facilitate mediation and settlement discussions to save you time, money, and emotional stress.
- Protection of your parental rights: We will fight to protect your parental rights, ensuring that you maintain a significant and healthy presence in your children’s lives.
- Administration of complex financial matters: We offer expertise in handling matters such as business valuations, investments, and retirement accounts.
- Post-divorce modifications: After a divorce is finalized, we can help with post-divorce modifications of child support, custody arrangements, or spousal support.
The foregoing is only a small sampling of how we can help you with your Chula Vista, CA, divorce. Contact our legal team to learn more about how we can help you.
California Divorce Process: An Overview
No two divorces are exactly alike. The California divorce process, however, typically involves the following steps, which may vary in sequence and timing, depending on circumstances.
Step 1: Initial Preparation
Divorce is not a decision to take lightly. Proceed deliberately with all due caution, and clarify in your own mind your reasons for divorce. If there is any chance that announcing your decision will incite a violent response from your spouse, prioritize safety for you and your children.
Before you even announce your decision, try to understand your financial situation. If it was always your partner who took care of financial matters, that is all the more reason to learn about your finances. Secure any important documents and personal items. If you have children, make especially careful preparations for tactfully breaking the news to them.
Step 2: File for Divorce
To qualify to file for divorce in California, at least one spouse must be a resident of both the state of California and the county in which you are filing for divorce. That means that one spouse must have lived in the state for the past six months, and the same spouse must have lived in the California county where you are seeking divorce for at least the past three months.
You must start with the following paperwork:
- A Petition (FL-100);
- A Summons (FL-110); and
- For couples with children, a Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) (FL-105).
File your divorce papers at your local family law courthouse. There will be a fee, but you can waive the fee under certain conditions.
Step 3: Serve the Papers on Your Spouse
You must serve all of the Step 2 documents, plus a blank version of Response Form FL-120, on your spouse to notify them of the divorce. You cannot serve these papers yourself—you need an adult not involved in your case, such as a friend. The server can deliver the papers personally or serve them by certified mail with acknowledgment FL-117. Your spouse will then have 30 days to respond.
Step 4: Responding to the Initiation of Divorce Proceedings
If it is your spouse rather than you initiating the divorce, you will receive the service of the divorce paperwork mentioned above. Read the documents carefully, especially the Standard Family Law Restraining Orders. Failure to comply with these restraining orders could get you into significant trouble.
Respond to the divorce papers by filling out and returning the Response (FL-120). If there are children involved in your divorce, complete a Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Enforcement Act and file it at the family law courthouse in the county where you reside. Serve the Petitioner (your spouse), and file a Proof of Service by Mail (FL-335) with the court.
Step 5: Temporary Orders
It takes at least six months to finalize a California divorce (it usually takes longer than that). You and your spouse can ask the court to issue temporary orders during that time. You might need to make arrangements for child custody, for example, child support, spousal support, etc. File Form FL-300 (Request for Order) with the court to seek a temporary order. The court may demand that you support Form FL-300 with additional supporting documents.
After you file your request, the court will set a hearing date, and you will have to serve your spouse with these documents. Your spouse may also seek temporary orders and serve you with documents. Respond to such a request by filing a Responsive Declaration (FL-320) with the court and serving it on your spouse. Assume that all correspondence will be shared between you, your spouse, and the court.
Step 6: Financial Disclosures
You must make extensive financial disclosures using Forms FL-140, FL-141, FL-142 (or FL-160), and FL-150. These forms disclose your assets, debts, income, expenses, and other sensitive information. Eventually, you must file both preliminary and final disclosures. You must also provide detailed financial documentation such as pay stubs, tax returns, bank account statements, etc. You can waive these disclosures through mutual agreement.
Step 7: Discovery
In the discovery process, each spouse demands information that is in the possession of the other spouse. The court can intervene with sanctions against any party who refuses to cooperate. The discovery process ends 60 days before the trial.
Each spouse has the following legal tools available to them:
- Demand for the production of documents: You can demand that your spouse produce a copy of relevant documentation.
- Interrogatories: You can submit written questions to your spouse, who must answer under oath.
- Depositions: You can elicit oral testimony from your spouse.
- Requests for admissions: Requests to admit or deny certain statements.
To a limited extent, you can also demand evidence from third parties. In a contentious divorce, discovery can be burdensome and time-consuming.
Step 8: Settlement
Settlement resolves all pending issues between you. It requires both of you to agree on issues like child custody, child support, spousal support, property division, etc. A court will generally accept a settlement except under special circumstances–if it is not in the best interests of the children, for example.
If you manage to settle your differences, there will be no trial. The terms of the settlement will bind you in the future, however.
Step 9: Trial (If Settlement Fails)
Think of a trial as a last resort. Courts certainly do, as they will often go to some length to help you settle your differences, including scheduling settlement conferences. In almost every instance, a divorce trial is decided by a judge. You can call witnesses, even expert witnesses.
Trials proceed from procedural matters to opening statements, witness testimony, and closing arguments.
Step 10: Post-Divorce Issues
You will know that your divorce is final once the judge signs your divorce judgment and both divorcing spouses receive a Notice of Entry of Judgment. It may take a while to receive this notice, however. To avoid trouble, comply with all court orders by transferring property titles, etc. Update the DMV and Social Security if you are changing your name. Update your estate plan, separate your retirement accounts, and remain diligent.
How to Get to San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC From Chula Vista, CA
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Schedule a Free, No-Obligation Consultation With a Chula Vista Divorce Lawyer
Divorce in Chula Vista, CA, is hard enough on both parties psychologically. Legally, it can be a minefield. If you are considering divorce or are already in divorce proceedings, don’t hesitate to contact San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC, at (619) 866-3756 for immediate legal representation. Our Chula Vista divorce lawyers are here for you during this challenging time.
- Chula Vista, CA (92037)
- La Jolla, CA (91902)