If you’ve recently relocated to San Diego, and have decided to seek a divorce, you undoubtedly have a lot of questions. Here’s a look at what you need to know if you’re looking to get a divorce as a new resident in San Diego County.
Divorce Residency Requirements in San Diego
To file for divorce in California at least one of the spouses must have lived in California for six months prior to filing for divorce. In other words, if you’ve only very recently moved to California from out of state, you’ll need to wait at least six months to file for divorce.
Moreover, in California, all individuals seeking a divorce must reside in the County in which they are seeking to file for a dissolution of marriage for at least three months. For example, if you and your soon to be ex-spouse just moved to San Diego County from Los Angeles County, you’ll need to wait three months pass before filing for divorce in San Diego.
It should be noted that you can file for legal separation without meeting the residency requirements, and then revise your petition and ask for the divorce in San Diego once you’ve met the residency requirements. However, you should seek the counsel of an experienced San Diego family law specialist prior to doing so, as it may just make sense to wait to file.
Fortunately, waiting three months to file for divorce in San Diego if you are a new resident need not be wasted time. There are plenty of proactive measures you can take during this waiting period, which will help expedite your divorce once you’ve filed. Here are three steps you can take while waiting to file for divorce in San Diego.
1. Retain a family law attorney
You will want to hire an attorney who you feel comfortable with, since you’ll be working with them for at least six months. You may need to consult with a few attorneys before you find the right divorce attorney to guide you through this process. It is also smart to find an attorney who specializes in family law, as opposed to an attorney who practices in multiple areas. Family law is constantly evolving, and it’s a particularly complex area of law, so you’ll want to make sure you’re working with an attorney who is immersed in the practice of family law every day, as opposed to someone who handles an occasional divorce or custody dispute.
2. Begin compiling financial documentation
You’ll need to provide your San Diego family law attorney with documentation of finances for your divorce, so use this time to gather and organize important paperwork including:
*State/Federal income taxes for the past several years
*Pay stubs/proof of earnings for the past several years
*Retirement accounts/pension statements
*Credit card statements
3. Focus on Health and Wellbeing
Divorces can be very stressful, particularly if the dissolution of your marriage is contentious. To reduce stress, it is enormously beneficial to be proactive about taking care of yourself, and your children. Many couples and families find therapy to be invaluable when it comes to coping with a divorce, or the changing dynamics of the family. It is also more important than ever, that you get enough sleep, eat well, and get exercise. This is not only in your best interest, but in the best interest of children who need you to be physically and emotionally strong as you go through a divorce.
Once you’ve met the residency requirements for filing for divorce in San Diego, and you’ve hired an experienced family law attorney, your divorce petition can be filed. In San Diego and throughout California, your divorce will become final in six months, barring any obstacles along the way.
In countless cases though, divorces take longer than six months to be finalized. This happens when there are significant disputes over finances, property, custody, spousal support and child support. That’s precisely why it’s smart to hire an experienced San Diego divorce attorney as soon as possible, begin gathering necessary financial documents now, and focusing on taking care the best possible care of yourself and your children in the meantime. Taking these steps now, help expedite the divorce process, and reduce stress for everyone involved in the long run.