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San Francisco Divorce Checklist

When filing for a San Francisco divorce, it is important to understand the divorce process. Although San Francisco divorce lawyers will be able to assist you throughout your case, you should make sure you meet the requirements for divorce, have proper grounds to file and know how to hire a San Francisco divorce attorney.

This article will explain what you need to know before filing for a San Francisco divorce.

San Francisco Divorce Requirements

To file for divorce in San Francisco, one must meet certain residency requirements. To meet these requirements, either you or your spouse must have been a resident of California for six months and a resident of San Francisco County for three months prior to filing.

Proper grounds for the divorce must also be cited. Grounds means the reason for the divorce. For San Francisco, there are a couple of grounds a person may give when filing for divorce.

The first is irreconcilable differences. This means that your marriage is so badly damaged that it is beyond repair. You or your spouse will have to show the court there is substantial reason for not continuing the marriage.

The other reason you may cite for a divorce in San Francisco is incurable insanity. To claim your spouse is incurably insane, you must provide expert medical or psychiatric testimony to support this.

Hiring a San Francisco Divorce Attorney

Whether you or your spouse is the one filing for divorce, you will want to hire a San Francisco divorce lawyer.

To find names of divorce lawyers near you, talk to family and friends who have gone through a divorce. Ask questions about the lawyer they used, and see if they would recommend him.

You can also use a site like Whether you live in the Mission District, Soma, Bernal Heights or another area of San Francisco, can connect you with a San Francisco divorce attorney in your area. To begin the process, fill out the form on this site or call 1-877-913-7222. Next, answer a few questions, and will connect you to at least one divorce attorney in your area. The lawyer will then contact you within two business days or you can contact him at your own convenience.

Setting Up a Consultation

Once you have found at least one San Francisco divorce lawyer you are interested in, set up an initial consultation. A consultation is an initial meeting with an attorney. This meeting gives you the opportunity to ask the lawyer questions about himself and his practice, talk to him about your divorce case and decide whether to hire the lawyer.

Before going to your consultation, you will want to write up a list of questions. Also, remember to bring pen and paper to take notes with.

Questions you should consider asking include:

  • How long have you handled San Francisco divorce cases?
  • Do you have any experience with child custody or child support issues?
  • Have you handled a case like mine before?
  • What strategy would you suggest for my case?
  • What type of fee arrangement do you use? How much do you estimate it will cost for me to get divorced?
  • If I have a question for you, how can I contact you? How long will it take you to respond?

If, after the consultation, you still cannot make a hiring decision, ask the lawyer for a list of references. Contact these past clients and ask them about the attorney and his services. After this, you should be able to make a hiring decision.

Filing for a San Francisco Divorce

You or your spouse will need to file a petition for dissolution of marriage with the Superior Court. (The petition for dissolution of marriage is the official legal document that initiates the divorce process.) In San Francisco, you would file this petition with the San Francisco County Superior Court, Unified Family Court.

Your spouse is then served with a copy of the petition and given a chance to respond. If your spouse agrees to the terms of the divorce, including child support, child custody, parental visitation and debt and asset allocation, then the divorce may proceed without a trial. However, if there is disagreement, the court will schedule a hearing.

It is beneficial for the couple to come to an agreement on the issues in the divorce prior to a trial. With the help of your San Francisco divorce attorney, you may be able to negotiate with your spouse outside of court to come to an agreement. This will save you the time and the burdensome cost of the trial process.