(To enlarge video, right click and choose a zoom option)
Your Next Steps
Before you see you an attorney, follow these steps. For more information on each step, watch the video and read below,
1. Determine if you qualify for a Summary Dissolution,
a. If so, and you agree to the all the terms, fill out the form online and turn it into the court. You do not need to see an attorney.
b. If so, and you have more questions after watching the video, or do not agree to all the terms,
i. If both parties are willing and available to participate, fill out the pre-mediation worksheet and schedule mediation with Legal Assistance
ii. If both parties are not willing or available to participate, one spouse come to Legal Assistance walk-ins (one spouse per base)
2. If you do not qualify for a Summary, Dissolution,
a. If you already agree to all the terms of your divorce, attend the workshop at the courthouse and serve the other party.
i. Then, fill out the dissolution of marriage worksheet and have one spouse come to Legal Assistance to discuss the terms of the agreement
b. If you don't agree to all the terms, but both parties are willing and able to attend mediation,
i. Attend the workshop at the courthouse and have the other party served
ii. Bring copies of all the court filings and the pre-mediation worksheet to Legal Assistance to schedule mediation
c. If you don't agree and mediation is not a realistic option,
i. One spouse can come to Legal Assistance walk-ins for advice (one spouse per base)
3. If none of the above apply to you, then come to Legal Assistance walk-ins (one spouse per base) to discuss your case with an attorney
Summary Dissolutions of Marriage – Overview
To learn more about Summary Dissolutions in San Diego County, visit the County Court’s Summary Dissolution self-help webpage here. It is not necessary to visit the Legal Assistance Office if you pursue a Summary Dissolution.
Summary Dissolution for Uncontested Divorces
If you qualify for a Summary Dissolution and AGREE to all the terms of your divorce, fill out the forms and turn them in to the court clerk. You may obtain the necessary forms from the San Diego County Court online or in person. Questions regarding this process may be answered by the Summary Dissolution Information Booklet (Form FL-810) that is published by the San Diego County Court.
Summary Dissolution if Contested (Parties Disagree)
If you qualify for a Summary Dissolution and DO NOT AGREE to all the terms of your divorce, mediation may help you resolve your disputed issues. To utilize mediation services offered by the Legal Assistance Office (“LAO”):
i. Complete all items on the LAO’s Pre-Mediation Checklist, including the Pre-Mediation Worksheet.
ii. Visit the LAO to schedule a mediation appointment. Be sure to inform the office clerk that you qualify for a Summary Dissolution.
Dissolution of Marriage (if you do not qualify for a Summary Dissolution)
If you do not qualify for a Summary Dissolution of your marriage and you AGREE to all the terms of your divorce, you may do the following:
i. Attend a San Diego Court Dissolution Workshop to help you file the Petition. You can schedule an appointment online here. Additional SD County Dissolution Workshop Information is available here.
ii. Serve the other party, and fill out the Dissolution of Marriage Worksheet; and
iii. Have one party visit the LAO during Walk-in hours. The LAO will draft the agreement for you.
iv. Attend the San Diego County Court’s “Finish My Case Workshop” to complete the dissolution administrative process. For more information or to register for the workshop online, click here.
If you do not qualify for a Summary Dissolution of your marriage and you DO NOT AGREE to all the terms of your divorce, you may do the following:
i. Attend the court workshop to file the Petition. You can schedule an appointment here. Additional SD County Dissolution Workshop Information is available here.
ii. Serve the other party
iii. Fill out the Pre-Mediation Worksheet and Pre-Mediation Packet Checklist; then
iv. Schedule a mediation appointment with the LAO during regular business hours. Monday – Thursday (0730-1130, 1300-1630). Please note that the LAO is closed every Friday for internal administration.
Dissolution of Marriage – Other Options
If none of the above options apply to you and you require a meeting with an attorney, one party may come to walk-ins at MCRD San Diego from 0800-1000 on Tuesday and Thursday.
Please note that due to California State Bar rules regarding conflicts of interest, once you meet with an attorney at MCRD San Diego, you may not attend mediation with that same attorney or any other attorney at the MCRD San Diego LAO. However, you can still follow the steps above for mediation and schedule a mediation appointment at any LAO where neither you nor your spouse has met with an attorney.
The MCRD San Diego Legal Assistance Office (LAO) offers a variety of family law-related services, including the following:
New clients requiring assistance with the matters listed above must first meet with an attorney. Please bring a copy of all relevant documents, including any court orders or other court papers. Our focus is on California law. Limited assistance and/or attorney referrals may be provided for matters involving other jurisdictions.
The MCRD San Diego LAO can also assist you with an uncontested Dissolution of Marriage (Divorce), where both parties agree to the process and outcome. The LAO can also provide mediation services if you and your spouse have resolved a majority of disputed issues and need assistance resolving the remaining few disputed items. The LAO cannot assist with contested divorces where the parties cannot reach an agreement and decide to dispute unresolved issues in court.
Contested Dissolutions (Divorces) that are litigated in California Courts can be expensive and time consuming. The self-help process created by the San Diego Courts and the services offered by the LAO, which includes mediation, are designed to expedite the process and reduce expenses.
Please note that the process and documents referenced below relate to the State of California, and more specifically to San Diego County. The process, timing, cost and documents related to Dissolution of Marriages or Divorces in other locations vary greatly. You are advised to visit a Legal Assistance Office at a facility in the location where you reside or contact a civilian attorney.