We are often asked if you have to go to Court to get a divorce in San Diego. While it is possible never to have to go to Court to complete a divorce case it requires a lot to go well.
If you and your former spouse are in complete agreement on every aspect of your divorce Burke & Domercq can prepare the appropriate paperwork and the settlement agreement. We would prepare a properly signed “stipulated order” which the Judge simply needs to review and approve.
This is often possible when the parties have few assets and liabilities and no children.
However, if you have children or substantial assets and/or liabilities the question of if you have to go to Court to get a divorce in San Diego gets a bit more complex.
In order to complete a divorce every issue in the settlement agreement must be completely resolved. All assets and debts must be equally divided between the parties under California law. If you have children there will need to be a child custody and parenting time plan.
If either of you owns a business there will need to be a valuation of that interest to establish the amount of the community property interest in the business. Community property is equally divided between the parties so if the business owner wants to keep it they must offset their former spouse’s community interest with other assets or a loan.
Retirement accounts must be divided as part of the community property settlement. A 401(k) and many other plans require a complex legal document known as a “Qualified Domestic Relations Order” or QDRO. Your plan administrator(s) require specific structure and language within the QDRO or they cannot and will not execute the orders in your case.
You may have to go to Court to get a divorce in San Diego if there is any disagreement between you and your former spouse on any aspect of your divorce. It is possible to avoid Court altogether through mediation and perhaps a private Judge. This is why it is important to speak with the experienced Certified Family Law Specialists at Burke & Domercq if you are considering a divorce.