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kathy minella

At Minella Law Group, we ensure each client understands they are top priority and not just a number. While our approach to each case is tailored to meet your goals, we zealously advocate for each and every client here in San Diego. We like to say we're a client-centric law firm, motivated by obtaining efficient and fair results for all!

We can help, no matter your family law need. If you're struggling to collect the spousal or child support, think your spouse/ ex may be an unfit parent or need help dividing your marital assets including modifying your divorce. No case is too small or too big for us to handle. We offer complimentary consultations, call or request online.

Experienced Legal Help Your Family Deserves

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Best Family Lawyers in San Diego


Dissolving your marriage and dividing all of the marital assets and debts accumulated during marriage.

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Domestic Violence

Seeking a domestic violence restraining order or defending yourself from receiving a restraining order.

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Adoptive parents seeking to formalize their relationship by legally adopting a child or a stepchild.

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Determining the rights of both parents to spend time with and make decisions about their child or children.

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Kathy and her team are terrific. She provided great service and helped me with every step of my case. Kathy provides detailed explanations of every step and possible options, and she helped me to find the optimal outcome for my situation.

Adam R.
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We Are Financial and Family Attorneys

A family law attorney will guide you through the challenges and legal questions presented by spousal support, child support, and custody in San Diego. In protecting your standard of living and the well-being of your children, we’ll take the steps necessary to obtain temporary and permanent orders regarding each of these issues, and when appropriate, seek post‑judgment modification of orders.

Solve Divorce Issues Creatively

Divorce poses many issues that can make reaching resolution difficult. Our lawyers protect our clients with strong advocacy skills, and where the client is willing, the firm will also utilize collaborative law or mediation processes. In a collaborative law case, there are four‑way meetings in which the parties and their divorce lawyers work together to resolve your divorce and related issues. In mediation, a neutral third party facilitates an agreement between you and your spouse, and parties may have their own divorce attorneys to provide advice, draft documents, and review the agreement. Both of these processes take place outside of the courtroom and foster cooperation and communication that can persist after divorce, which is of central importance, especially when children are involved.

Protect Your Assets During a Divorce

In a high-asset divorce, we understand that clients are faced with special concerns, and we’ll focus on safeguarding your financial interests as assets are divided. Clients with substantial assets have complex marital estates; consequently, complicated ownership and valuation issues often arise. For example, these issues may stem from businesses, partnership interests, real property, pensions, stock options, and other forms of executive compensation. Additionally, tax considerations must be addressed, as well as the effect of premarital agreements when relevant. We’ll carefully analyze your rights and take the appropriate actions to protect your assets as these critical determinations are made.

How To File For Divorce In San Diego?

Filing for divorce in San Diego simply takes preparing the petition for dissolution stating what the issues to resolve are.  If you have children, you will also file a declaration that San Diego has jurisdiction by providing where they lived for the last 5 years.  There is also a filing fee of $435 that must be paid at the time of filing.  After filing, you are required to do your financial disclosures and exchange with the other party before your case will progress.

Why Do I Need A Divorce Attorney?

A divorce attorney is necessary when you are feeling overwhelmed by the process or when you do not know what your rights are.  Many people going through a divorce are also working full time or caring for their children, it is hard to find the time to complete all the required paperwork. Also, you could have a spouse that is trying to minimize the amount of assets there are to divide and you may not know what questions to ask or what you are entitled to.  It is always best practice to have a divorce attorney you can consult during the process.

Do All Family Lawyers Take On Divorce Cases?

Not all family lawyers take on divorce cases.  You want to find an attorney who specializes in family law also known as a Certified Family Law Specialist.  These attorneys have gone through extra steps to have the State Bar of California certify them as experts in the area of family law.  Divorce is one area of family law.  You want to make sure you work with an attorney who is knowledgeable in this area and can guide you properly.

Are There Different Types of Divorce?

There are different types of divorce.  There is summary dissolution and dissolution.  In a summary dissolution the parties have been married for less than 5 years, there are no children or property, there is less than $5,000 in debt, less than $25,000 in assets, and there is no spousal support.  In a summary dissolution, you must have a full agreement with your spouse as the agreement is filed with the petition. If you do not qualify for a summary dissolution, you would file a dissolution.  You can also have an uncontested dissolution where there are no disagreements between the parties, and a contested dissolution where there are disagreements that need to be resolved.

How Long Does It Take To Get A Divorce?

A divorce will take at least 6 months to finalize as that is the cooling off period the court requires.  If the parties have completed everything that is required and have reached a full agreement that is signed and ready to file, you could be done as early as 6 months from the date of service.  However, that is not common.  Generally, it takes about a year to a year and a half to finalize a divorce if there are children and support issues to resolve.  The more the parties work together to resolve their disputed, the quicker their case can be finalized.

Can I Move Out of The State During A Divorce?

A party is free to leave the state during the pendency of a dissolution, but you need to have a way to participate once you are gone.  You can either hire an attorney or you can appear by phone for any hearings.  While a party can move out of the state during a divorce, any children who are part of the dissolution cannot be removed.  Once a divorce has been filed and served, ATRO’s are in effect.  ATRO’s stand for Automatic Temporary Restraining Order.  There are several limitations on the parties, one of which is the ability to take children from the state of California.  If a party wants to move the children, you must either have an agreement between the parties or a court order allowing the children to leave.

Do My Spouse And I Need Separate Divorce Attorneys?

Yes, you and your spouse need separate divorce attorneys.  It would be a conflict of interest for one attorney to represent both parties who have adverse interests.  Each person should retain their own attorney to advise them during the divorce.

What Is An Average Retainer Fee For Divorce?

An average retainer for a divorce attorney is $5,000.  This amount goes into your client trust account and is used to pay your filing fee, service fee, and to get your paperwork started and filed with the court.

Do I Have To Go To Court To Get Divorced?

No, you do not have to go to court to get divorced.  Many people never step foot inside the courthouse during their divorce.  It is very common to resolve all issues amicably and by way of agreement.  Also, if you have an attorney, your attorney will appear at all hearings on your behalf which is part of the reason to hire an attorney.