How Do I File For Divorce In San Diego?
couple sitting on couch

If you have realized that your marriage is at its end, you may decide that it is time to file for divorce. Before doing so, you should understand how divorce works in California and what will happen during the process.

Like most legal proceedings, divorce can easily become complicated and overwhelming. Here is a quick guide to the most important information about divorce in California to help you understand the process better. 

For more in-depth information, California’s Judicial Branch website has a thorough explanation of divorce proceedings in California.

Divorce in California

To file for divorce in California, you or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months before the filing. Additionally, one of you must have lived in the county where you are filing for at least three months. 

Your Partner

To divorce your partner in California, they do not have to participate in the process. If they do not agree to the divorce, they cannot stop it from happening. Should your partner refuse to participate, you would receive a default judgment that allows your divorce to go through. 

If you both agree on the divorce, it does not matter who files first. There is no advantage to filing before your spouse. 

No-Fault Divorce

California allows no-fault divorces, meaning that neither spouse has to have committed a wrong against the other. If the divorce is occurring simply because the couple can no longer get along, they can file for a no-fault divorce due to irreconcilable differences. 

However, if there is fault, that can affect support orders and custody arrangements. Be honest about the reason you are filing for divorce, as it could affect the entire process.

Community Property

One of the most common concerns of couples filing for divorce is how their property will be divided. California employs a community property system, which divides all property and debts acquired during the marriage equally between both spouses. This covers income of all kinds, though it does not include property owned before the marriage. 


If there are children of the marriage, custody can complicate the divorce even further. Custody in California is based on the idea that children should have frequent and continuing contact with both of their parents. However, if there is evidence that suggests the child should not have contact with one of their parents, the court will base its decision on the child’s best interests. 

If divorcing parents can agree on a parenting plan, the court will usually approve it. It is easier to allow amicable parents to make their own decisions regarding their children, as long as they are both suitable caregivers. 

If parents are unable to agree on a parenting plan, the court will often require mediation sessions. Should those prove ineffective, the court will then take over, and the judge will make all custody decisions. 

Child Support

Every state requires parents to support their children. In California, the amount of child support is dependent on each parent’s income, resources, and the amount of time they spend with their children.

The Importance of a Lawyer

Even the most amicable of divorces can quickly become complicated. If you have children, a large amount of property to be divided, or any other considerations, they can add further complexity to your divorce. 

That is why you should hire a lawyer. An experienced divorce attorney can help you navigate the process and attain the outcome you want. 

California divorces require a large amount of paperwork. A lawyer will make sure that all of your forms are filled out correctly so that your divorce goes through.

Your lawyer should have experience with both state and county precedent. While any California attorney could help with the general process, a lawyer familiar with how courts handle divorce in your county will know how to support you better. 

Your divorce will go much more smoothly if you have a skilled lawyer by your side. Not only will they fight for the outcome you want, but they will also ensure that all steps of the process are completed correctly.

Now You Know

Like all legal proceedings, divorce is complicated. Separating two lives that have been intertwined for a long time requires a large amount of time, energy, and paperwork. 

If you are a San Diego resident that wishes to file for divorce, it is best to hire an attorney familiar with both state and county regulation. Shorb & Connor APC is a trusted family law firm based in San Diego. Their team of qualified attorneys is experienced in divorce proceedings and child and spousal support. 

Contact Shorb & Connor APC, today for a free case evaluation. They can help you navigate your divorce smoothly and obtain the outcome you deserve.

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