We're Minella Law Group

A Family Law Firm

Our family law attorneys understand you have unique legal needs. We're here to help make things easier and zealously advocate for your family in the San Diego courts.

We understand how stressful family law needs can be, we're here to help take the stress away and be your advocate.

Kathy Minella Founding Attorney

Dedicated Family Law Services

Divorce

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

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Adoptions

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

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Custody

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

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Domestic Violence

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

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Kathy Minella and her team were incredibly helpful navigating an unpleasant family law case. They were able to deal with a dangerous situation that protected us legally from further harassment. Kathy's work was dynamic, responding to curve balls with professionalism and legal skill.

Julie C.

Kathy and her team helped me through this difficult process during the Covid-19 pandemic. She and her team were always responded to my questions in a timely manner and kept the process moving forward, under the circumstances that the courts were overwhelmed and under-resourced during the pandemic. This helped my family with closure and to open a new chapter in our lives.

Seth L.

Hiring Kathy Minella as my attorney was one of the best decisions I have ever made. She made me feel understood, empowered and well represented. She and her entire staff are professional, knowledgeable and friendly. She has been flexible with payment arrangements and has always answered all my questions thoroughly. Divorce during a pandemic has been an absolute nightmare but thanks to Kathy and her team my divorce is finalized and a very heavy weight has been lifted off of me. Thank you!

Angelica L.

I cannot thank Kathy and her team enough for helping me and guiding me through my situation. She has been there every step of the way and kept me going throughout the whole process. I would highly recommend this team. Thank you all so much for everything!

Christina C

We get results where it matters the most

95

Percent of positive outcome of people helped

500

Cases litigated in San Diego County

90

Percent of cases settled instead of a court trial
family-lawyers

We're

Certified California

Family Law Specialists

We like to say we’re changing the way law firms do business.

We represent all walks of life, gender, race, and orientation. Our typical client is one who has a problem that needs solving whether it be access to their children or a pending restraining order, we gravitate towards people who have been experiencing injustice because they didn’t have representation in court. We do that by working with proven traditions, but at the same time innovating constantly to improve what we can do for our clients.”

We keep the firm on the leading edge by making the firm completely paperless where everything is maintained online. This gives clients the ability to access their client file at anytime by logging onto their platform. The attorneys maintain all calendars online, so clients always know what is going on in their case. “This sets us apart and takes away the secrecy in your case and need to constantly contact your attorney.

 

Our attorneys appreciate the value of respect in serving our clients.

Especially in a divorce, we understand the uncertainty that you may be experiencing, which is why communication is key to providing you with effective representation. We’ll keep you fully informed and return your phone calls as quickly as possible, usually the same day.

To fully advocate on your behalf, our advice to clients goes beyond resolving the immediate situation and involves evaluation of the future impact of the decisions that are made now.  We’ll assess how to put you in the best position possible well after divorce when it comes to issues of asset protection, tax consequences, and protecting your standard of living and the well-being of your children. We’ll discuss the possibility of alternatives to litigation, such as mediation and collaborative law, which may be more beneficial to promoting your current and long term family and financial interests.

 

Everyone starts with a free initial consultation, at least 15 minutes on the phone with an attorney on the team. We like to do this is determine if we’re a good fit for each other!

We like discuss the case necessities, strategy and give recommendations on that first call together.

Reach out to us through our online form or call the office directly at 619.289.7948 to speak to someone immediately (weekdays). It does not matter if you are a new case or already in the midst of one, we can help. Our office is open for remote or in person visits.

Frequently Asked Questions About Family Law

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.

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.

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 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.