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Take the Stress out of Family Law


Filing your Divorce does not have to be difficult or complicated, especially if the Parties are in agreement. However, there are some things you will need to consider and some information you should have before you file your Petition or Response to ensure that you do it correctly. Before taking any action, please consider the following:

  • Are you eligible to file a Summary Dissolution or Summary Termination of Domestic Partnership? 
  • Are you both Married and Registered Domestic Partners?
  • Will you be reaching and including an Agreement?
  • Will the Dissolution be contested?
  • Do you both have to “appear” in the case?
  • Who has to pay a filing fee?
  • What if you can’t afford to pay the fee? 

For answers to these questions, legal advice, or help with filling out the correct forms please contact our office. Please remember that only a licensed attorney may legally give you legal advice.

The Steps of A Divorce

There are a few steps to the typical Divorce process. They are the following:

  1.  Initiation: This includes the filing and service of the initial documents. The Party who files the first Divorce papers is referred to as the Petitioner. This Party will remain the Petitioner for the lifetime of the case, regardless of who later requests the assistance or involvement of the Court in any specific issues relating to the case (e.g. Motion for Custody or Support.) For Forms and Instructions Click Here
  2. Response: A Response is not always required. If the Parties are not going to reach an Agreement then the Respondent (Party on whom the initiating documents were served) must file a Response. To find out when it would be necessary to respond or what the benefits and potential risks are of not responding please contact our office and schedule a consult to discuss your specific case. Forms and Instructions Coming Soon
  3. Disclosure: The parties must provide each other with financial information relating to their possession, property and income. This is absolutely necessary and the Court will not grant the Divorce or the Divorce can be set aside if this information is not provided or is misrepresented. This information is contained in forms that are served on the other party. Forms and Instructions Coming Soon
  4. Litigation & Discovery: This stage is not necessary if the Parties are in agreement regarding all the matters relating to their Divorce. This stage usually includes lawyers, though it is not necessary, and always involves the Court. This is the stage at which Mediation can sometimes help work out the kinks to avoid unnecessary conflict or expense. This stage can be the most complicated and often the most expensive. For Forms and Instructions on Family Law Discovery Click Here
  5. Judgment: There are 3 types of Judgments of Divorce that do not involve litigation. A True Default, a Default With an Agreement, and an Uncontested Divorce. Each  of these types of Judgments is distinct and has different requirements as to what forms must be filed. Once litigation has been initiated these types of Judgments are no longer available and the Parties will have to either litigate and take the case to Trial or file a Stipulated Judgment and Marital Settlement Agreement. Forms and Instructions Coming Soon
  6. Enforcement: Once an Order of Judgment has been entered, there are a number of ways to enforce such Family Court Orders. For instructions and forms on Enforcement of Non-Support Family Law Money Judgments please follow the link. For Forms and Instructions Click Here

The process is different for a Summary Dissolution or Summary Termination of a Domestic Partnership. To be eligible to file a Summary Dissolution or Notice of Termination all the following requirements must be met: The duration of the Marriage or Domestic Partnership has been less than 5 years; There are no children of the relationship (including adopted); Neither party is currently pregnant; Neither party owns land; the Community Property is less than $38,000; Each party's Separate Property is less than $38,000; and the total Community debt is less that $6,000 (not including vehicles.) For Forms and Instructions Click Here


For more information please contact our office. If you would like to meet with an attorney, either by yourself or with your spouse, to determine which method of Divorce is best for you prior to taking legal action, please contact our office and schedule an appointment. 

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One Day Divorce

What is it?

It is a relatively new program intended to streamline the process of receiving the Final Judgment in a dissolution.  The requirements are very narrowly tailored and only certain parties can qualify to participate in this program. Parties who qualify and complete the process will go before a Judge on the same day of their appointment to receive their Final Judgment of Dissolution or Legal Separation.


Who can Participate?

Self-represented parties who's case is located in the Downtown San Diego Family Court only.  You must also be able to answer Yes to all of these questions:


  • Have the Summons and Petition been served on the Respondent? 
  • Has it been six months since the Petition and Summons were served on the Respondent?
  • Are both parties self-represented (no lawyer)?
  • Has the Proof of Service of Summons or the Response been filed with the court?
  • Have the parties reached a complete agreement regarding all matters relating to the divorce including property division, custody, and support? 


The Respondent may not participate in the program without the Petitioner

Click Here to see if you qualify for the program. If you qualify, this link will ask you to provide your contact information and you will receive instruction directly from the court on how to complete the program and to schedule an appointment to process your divorce.

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So, what if you and your spouse change you minds after the Petition for Dissolution is filed?

I have noticed that there appears to be information readily accessible about how to file for a divorce but little information about cancelling one.

No worries, it is actually not difficult but the process depends on the form and stage of the Dissolution. Here is a very general summary. This summary is not intended to replace the advice of a licensed attorney.

  1. If a Petition was filed but a Response has not yet been filed, the Petitioner can request to withdraw his or her Petition for Dissolution by using the form CIV-110, Request for Dismissal.
  2. If both a Petition and a Response were filed, the Respondent will have to consent to Petitioner's request to Petitioner's Request for Dismissal.
  3. If a Summary Dissolution was filed, the parties can file a Notice of Revocation of Summary Dissolution. This form does not have to be signed by both parties. 

Each of these methods of stopping the Dissolution process have specific rules that apply to them and the guidance of a licensed, experienced attorney should be obtained to ensure that the process is done properly.

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