Understanding the Divorce Process in San Diego – A Comprehensive Overview

Divorce Process in San Diego

Divorce can be a challenging and overwhelming mental and emotional experience. However, several things can help the process go more smoothly.

One of the most important things is understanding the divorce process. It is where a San Diego divorce attorney can come in handy. Understanding the specific requirements for serving you and your spouse is crucial.

Read More: How To Divorce As Business Co-Owners

The Filing of the Petition

There are several steps to take before your divorce can be finalized. It includes completing all court requirements and filing any required documents with the court. It also involves preparing for and participating in any discovery necessary for your case.

The initial step is to submit a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or Domestic Partnership. This form provides the court with information about your relationship, identifies any children you have, and requests orders you want the court to make. Completing these forms ensures you don’t waive certain rights or make inaccurate assertions.

After receiving the Petition and Summons, your spouse must file a Response within 30 days. It’s often possible for spouses to reach a private agreement on issues like property division, spousal support, child custody, and visitation.


Depending on your situation, divorce can be very complex. It is especially true if you have children or high-value assets, which can impact your financial status and standard of living. For this reason, it is a good idea to get divorce help in San Diego before filing for divorce.

Many couples opt for mediation or collaborative divorce to reach an agreement on child custody, alimony, and property division. However, in cases where the spouses cannot settle on all issues, court hearings will be scheduled. Both parties will present evidence and testimony at these hearings and plead their case before the judge. It is known as the discovery phase. During discovery, the parties may send interrogatories, requests for admissions or depositions to gather relevant information.


Once the petition is filed, copies must be served on your spouse. Typically, this is done by having an adult friend or family member hand deliver the papers or hiring a professional process server.

After serving your spouse, you must exchange information and documents with them through discovery. It is a crucial part of the divorce process, so it’s important to talk to your San Diego divorce lawyer about handling these proceedings effectively.

During this phase, you may have to go through interrogatories, requests for admissions, and depositions. In addition, the court will schedule a series of hearings where you’ll discuss various issues in your case, such as custody, support, and property division.

Final Judgment

Once both sides have been able to agree on all of their issues and submit them for court approval, the final judgment phase is underway. The judge typically addresses contested issues like property division and custody arrangements.

After being served with a petition to divorce, a spouse must respond by filing an official response form. The response must be filed with the court, and a copy must be provided to the petitioner, generally by mail.

If the case is contested, it will go to trial, where both parties present testimony and evidence. It is when a judge rules on any contested issues, and the marriage is officially dissolved. The length of the hearing varies, and the judge may give his ruling orally at the end of the trial or mail it to each spouse’s attorney.

Read More: Can You Separate Amicably? A Short Guide to Collaborative Divorce


Once you’ve reached an agreement with your spouse, you must prepare and file several forms in court to finalize your divorce. The form requirements will vary based on whether your divorce is contested or uncontested.

The initial step in most cases involves submitting the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage to the San Diego Superior Court. You must also complete a Property Declaration and financial disclosure forms.

If your spouse agrees to the divorce, you can come to a private agreement on the issues of custody, visitation, and support. In these situations, you can get a “simple divorce” after six months of service.

If you and your spouse cannot settle, the court will schedule a mandatory mediation with a neutral third-party.