Everything You Need to Know About Divorce Law in San Diego
divorce law

Divorce can be a complex and emotional process, and navigating the legal aspects can feel overwhelming. If you’re considering divorce in San Diego, understanding California’s family law is crucial. This guide will provide a comprehensive overview of key aspects of divorce law in San Diego to help you make informed decisions.

Grounds for Divorce in San Diego

California is a no-fault divorce state. This means you don’t need to prove your spouse’s wrongdoing, such as infidelity or abuse, to obtain a divorce. You can simply cite irreconcilable differences as the reason for the dissolution of your marriage. If you’re considering divorce in the San Diego area, it’s important to seek guidance from a knowledgeable San Diego divorce lawyer who can help you navigate the legal process with expertise and compassion.

Residency Requirements

To file for divorce in San Diego, you or your spouse must meet specific residency requirements. One of you must have been a resident of California for at least six months and a resident of San Diego County for at least three months before filing.

Types of Divorce

There are two main types of divorce in California:

  • Uncontested Divorce: This is the most straightforward option. Both spouses agree on all aspects of the divorce, including child custody, child support, spousal support, and the division of assets and debts.
  • Contested Divorce: If you and your spouse cannot agree on any of the above issues, you will have a contested divorce. This process typically involves mediation or litigation in court.

Division of Property

California is a community property state. This means all assets and debts acquired during the marriage are considered community property, subject to equal division between the spouses during divorce. Separate property, such as inheritances or assets acquired before marriage, is generally not subject to division.

Child Custody and Support

If you have minor children, child custody and support will be determined by the court based on the “best interests of the child” standard. This considers factors like each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s needs and the child’s relationship with each parent.

Spousal Support

Spousal support, also known as alimony, may be awarded to one spouse to help maintain the marital standard of living after the divorce. The court considers factors like the length of the marriage, the income disparity between the spouses, and each spouse’s earning capacity when determining spousal support.

The Divorce Process

The steps involved in a divorce can vary depending on the circumstances. Here’s a general overview:

  1. Filing the Petition: The initial step involves filing a petition for dissolution of marriage with the San Diego Superior Court.
  2. Serving Your Spouse: Once filed, your spouse must be served with the petition and other legal documents.
  3. Disclosure of Assets and Debts: Both spouses must disclose their financial information through a process called discovery.
  4. Reaching an Agreement (Uncontested Divorce): In an uncontested divorce, spouses negotiate and reach an agreement on all divorce issues. This agreement is formalized in a Marital Settlement Agreement.
  5. Court Hearing (Contested Divorce): If you cannot reach an agreement, the court will hold hearings to determine child custody, support, and division of property.
  6. Final Judgement: Once all issues are resolved, the court will issue a final judgment of divorce, officially dissolving the marriage.

Considering Legal Counsel

Divorce can be complex, and legal counsel from a San Diego divorce lawyer can be invaluable. An experienced attorney can guide you through the legal process, protect your rights, and ensure a fair outcome.


Alternative Dispute Resolution

California courts encourage alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods like mediation to settle divorce issues outside of court. Mediation can be faster, less expensive, and less adversarial than litigation.


Divorce is a life-altering event. By understanding California’s divorce laws and considering legal guidance, you can approach this process with more clarity and confidence. Remember, this guide is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice.

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