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San Diego Divorce Attorney

Divorce can be an emotional, intense, traumatic, and costly experience. At Scott Family Law, our San Diego divorce lawyers guide you through the process as smoothly as possible, while ensuring that your rights are protected. Call us for a free consultation at 1-858-974-4900. You can also reach us online.

Why Choose Us?

  • The best San Diego family law attorneys have more than 85 years of combined experience representing clients in all types of family law matters, including trial proceedings.
  • We have a history of obtaining successful results for our clients. This includes a $750,000 verdict for domestic abuse and the successful defense of a client who was falsely accused in a $10 million lawsuit.
  • We are open and transparent about our actions and strive to have our strategies informed by your needs.
  • James Scott is a board-certified family law specialist, equipped to handle all matters of the divorce and separation process, including mediation and spousal support.

Why You Need a San Diego Divorce Lawyer

Our San Diego divorce attorneys have extensive experience in negotiating difficult divorce disputes effectively. We are often able to find creative solutions to contentious issues, and we have access to highly respected experts on matters pertaining to divorce and family law. We are compassionate advocates, dedicated to achieving the most favorable outcome and protecting your rights throughout the entire process.

What Are the Most Common Issues in Divorce?

In a divorce involving children, the four most common issues that must be addressed are:

  • Child custody and parenting time: This is about who has physical custody of the child and when. It also concerns the right to make major decisions about the child’s education, religious upbringing, medical treatment, etc.
  • Child support: This issue is typically resolved in a relatively straightforward manner, based on the relative income of the parents and the parenting time schedule.
  • Property division: Assets and debts must be disclosed or identified and divided equitably between the spouses. This includes the marital home, personal property, stocks and bonds, real estate, retirement accounts, motor vehicles, and business interests. On the debt side, it may include mortgages, credit card debts, student loans, medical bills, and lines of credit.
  • Spousal support: When a couple divorces, the court may order one spouse to pay the other a certain amount of support per month. A number of factors are considered in the court’s decision.

Every San Diego divorce lawyer at Scott Family Law will have the experience to guide you through the process with the best possible result.

Common Divorce FAQ’s:

How Do I Get A Divorce in San Diego?

The process of divorce begins with a spouse filing a Petition with the court. You will need to fill out the information on dates, children, property, and debts. Next, you’ll also have to fill out a Summons form that’ll notify the responding party that a divorce has been filed.

California Family Code Section 7501 states that the parent entitled to custody determines the residence of the child. Recent higher court decisions have recognized the mobility of our culture and agreed to moves by the custodial parent. A parent wishing to block such a move or a non-custodial parent wishing to move with the children has the burden of a change of custody order.

Practice shows that the spouse demonstrating the most need tied to a sincere and thoughtful plan for the advancement of a career will get the highest support from the court.

Practice also shows that the spouse demonstrating the greatest ability to earn coupled with sincerity in the other spouse will pay the least amount overall.

The Reynolds case holds that retirement is available to all of us at a reasonable age and the support obligation would terminate or reduce as a result of retirement.

Can I Keep the House and Can I Keep it Without Paying for it?

Buying out the spouse on the house may be a good idea for both. No money is lost to costs of the sale so the seller nets more. No moving trauma or costs benefit the buyer. Consider trading something valuable or a lowered amount of support. You may keep the house without paying for it by agreement or by a deferred sale order under Family Code Sections 3800 – 3802.

Splitting a business without ruining the business or the managing spouse is the goal. Many business owners look at the buyout of the community business as a “double dip” when they are already committed to paying high rates of support. Appraisals need to consider the value of the loss of services of the spouse who has separated from the business.

Family Code Section 771 states as follows:

“(a) The earnings and accumulations of a spouse and the minor children living with, or in the custody of, the spouse, after the date of separation of the spouses, are the separate property of the spouse.

(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), the earnings and accumulations of an unemancipated minor child related to a contract of a type described in Section 6750 shall remain the sole legal property of the minor child.”

So, that property held separately prior to the marriage remains separate property.

Military Divorce

There are significant differences between military marriages and civilian marriages. The same can be said about military divorces, particularly if a spouse is away on active military duty at the time of filing. Residency issues can be complicated, depending on how long you or your spouse has been stationed at the current location, and the process may be delayed if a spouse is deployed on active duty for an extended period of time.

Navy retirement and just about any other retirement earned during the marriage is community property and the amount earned only during the marriage is split with the non-member spouse. Consider trading something else for the community share.

Divorce vs. Legal Separation

In a legal separation, the spouses are still legally married but living separately under a specific legal agreement. It is similar to divorce in the sense that many of the same issues must be negotiated and a court order details the rights and responsibilities of each spouse. Some couples choose legal separation over divorce for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Tax benefits
  • Possibility of reconciliation
  • Residency restrictions – no waiting period
  • Government, medical, or social security benefits
  • Religious reasons

Handling Difficult Divorces With Discretion

No one looks forward to the public airing of dirty laundry unless that dirty laundry is about someone else’s family. Publicizing certain personal information could put an executive’s position in jeopardy, damage an individual’s reputation in the community and cause other harm. Potential employers, lenders and potential business partners might look at your Superior Court file before doing business with you.

Our experienced San Diego divorce lawyers understand this very real risk and work tirelessly to maintain a degree of discretion around the divorce case. This effort can be made in several ways depending on the specific facts of the situation, but the bottom line is that we strive to protect the privacy of the entire family during this difficult time.

Focusing On Efficient And Timely Resolutions

Without proper representation, divorce cases have the potential to become mired in the court system for many months or even years. This stagnation can lead to financial uncertainty and unnecessary emotional stress for everyone involved.

San Diego divorce attorneys of Scott Family Law, Certified Family Law Specialist, understands that the faster these cases are completed, the less the people involved in the case tend to suffer. We will take all available steps to promote an efficient, timely and satisfactory outcome.

Contact The Best Divorce Attorneys in San Diego Today

At Scott Family Law in San Diego, we want you to understand all your options before moving forward with any proceedings. If you are considering divorce, call a San Diego divorce lawyer today to schedule a consultation.



“I have been a client of Mr. Scott’s for 20+ years. I have used Jim’s law firm for our corporate filings, wills, and living trusts. I have also recommended Mr. Scott to my friends for personal injury cases and have had a great response from them. He has always been fair and extremely thorough.” -Randy A.

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