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Shaffer & Associates, San Diego Divorce and Family Law Attorneys

Our firm’s practice is dedicated exclusively to family law matters. From the first time you contact our firm, you will recognize our understanding that every matter has distinct issues that must be handled with individual attention and dedication. 

We are committed to making this often difficult process easier by listening to our clients and developing the most effective and efficient way toward a resolution. We can guide and protect your rights, which enables you to move forward in your life. Contact Shaffer & Associates online or call (619) 230-1030 today to learn more about our practice areas and how we can help you.

Divorce & Separation

Divorce cases are first and foremost about the lives of the people involved. Divorce means permanent changes for both spouses and children, which leaves many important issues to address. At Shaffer & Associates, our San Diego divorce lawyers understa… Read More

Contested Divorce

In a California contested divorce, one spouse files a petition for divorce, and the other spouse files a response because he or she disagrees with the petition. The respondent may disagree with some or all of the things the petitioner is asking for.… Read More

Uncontested Divorce

There are a few ways for an uncontested divorce to take place in California. In what’s known as a “true default,” one spouse files a petition for divorce, and the other simply does not file a response. In this case, the court is lik… Read More

Divorce Mediation

In divorce mediation, the parties meet each other on a level playing field with a mediator who serves as a neutral third party to facilitate appropriate and reasonable solutions to all the issues that need to be decided. Mediation may not be appropri… Read More

Legal Separation

If you hope to reconcile with your spouse or are philosophically opposed to divorce, legal separation may be an option for you. Legal separation also may offer financial advantages over divorce. If you live in San Diego County or the surrounding comm… Read More


In California, an annulment—also called “nullity of domestic partnership” or “nullity of marriage”—occurs when a court decides that your marriage either is “null and void” or is “voidable.” A null and void marriage… Read More

Military Families

Military life is stressful both for enlisted men and women and their families. Add this to the stress of ordinary life and obligations, and it is not surprising that divorce is at least as prevalent in military families as in civilian ones. A member… Read More

Domestic Violence Issues

Domestic violence is abuse, or threatened abuse, when the person being abused and the abuser are in an intimate relationship, or have been in the past. Such relationships include marriage or domestic partnership, dating relationships, living together… Read More

Child Custody, Visitation & Support

As a parent, nothing is more important to you than the well-being of your children, especially, when you’re divorcing or separating from their other parent. At Shaffer & Associates, our experienced California family law attorneys are dedica… Read More

Child Custody

When we speak of “child custody” in California, we’re really talking about two different things: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the power to make major decisions regarding a child’s life, such as choices about rel… Read More

Child Support

Divorcing or separated parents often find that child support issues are a source of tremendous conflict. While parents want their children to be properly supported, they often disagree on the specifics of how much child support should be, and how res… Read More

Parental Relocation/Moveaway Disputes

A common scenario following a California divorce is for one parent to seek to move away from the area where both parents once lived with their children. Such a move may arise for many reasons: a parent may want to accept a new job, remarry, or move c… Read More

Parenting Time

The State of California determines both child custody and parenting time based on “the best interests of the child.” In most cases, it is presumed to be in a child’s best interests to have a strong relationship and regular contact w… Read More

Spousal Support

The issue of spousal support, or alimony, is a difficult subject that comes up in many divorce cases. The attorneys of Shaffer & Associates in San Diego help with a range of issues related to spousal support, including: negotiating spousal support as… Read More

Spousal Support (Alimony)

In California, spousal support—also called alimony—is money paid by one spouse or ex-spouse to the other as part of a divorce or legal separation. Spousal support is not awarded in every case; it depends on the circumstances or mutual agreement o… Read More

Support Modification

In California, spousal support may be temporary, during the pendency of a divorce, or permanent. Referring to spousal support, or alimony, as permanent is somewhat misleading, as even so-called “permanent” alimony awards may be modified.… Read More

Property Division

Because California is a community property state, division of assets and debts in divorce can pose a significant challenge. Many factors can affect the final property settlement. At Shaffer & Associates, we have achieved equitable property settlement… Read More

Community Property

California is one of a handful of “community property” states in which any assets acquired by a husband or wife during their marriage are considered community property, subject to equal division upon divorce. Spouses can make a mutual dec… Read More

Complex Property Issues

At Shaffer & Associates, we know that even a seemingly straightforward divorce is still a monumental event for our clients. When divorce is complicated by complex property issues and significant assets, the process can be even more overwhelming.… Read More

Pensions & Retirement Benefits

The division of pension and retirement benefits is one of the most complicated aspects of property division in a California divorce. Because California is a community property state, the law directs (unless parties agree otherwise) that marital prope… Read More

Division of Property & Business

For California couples that have an interest in investment property, or a family business or other closely-held business, division of the business or property is a critical issue in a divorce. Along with the marital home, and pensions and retirement… Read More

Division of Debt

The division of debt in a California divorce can be complicated. Issues in division include characterizing the debt as marital or separate, deciding whether one spouse is entitled to reimbursement for payment of debt, and dividing debt equally in acc… Read More

Property Issues for Unmarried Couples

Many California couples live together for years or decades without choosing to marry or register a domestic partnership. In their time together, the lives of such couples become intertwined, including their financial lives. If a cohabiting couple sep… Read More

Pre & Post Nuptial Agreements

No one plans to get divorced before they get married. Unfortunately, nearly half of marriages in the United States end in divorce, so it makes sense to at least acknowledge the possibility. Because California is a community property state, pre- and p… Read More

Prenuptial Agreements

A prenuptial agreement—also referred to as a pre-nuptial agreement, prenup or premarital agreement—is a contract between a couple before they are married. The agreement generally allows spouses to protect certain assets from being subject to divi… Read More

Postnuptial Agreements

Life happens. Families change. Situations change. Incomes change. A postnuptial agreement—also known as a post-nuptial agreement, a post-nup or a post marital agreement—is an agreement entered into after a marriage has taken place, but before a d… Read More

Settlement Agreements

When divorcing or separating parties agree on some or all issues concerning property, support and children, they may choose to enter into a written settlement agreement. A settlement agreement sets forth the terms of each party’s marital proper… Read More

Domestic Partnership/Same Sex Marriage

At Shaffer & Associates located in downtown San Diego, we understand California domestic partnership law, including both the formation and termination of domestic partnerships. Our attorneys are at the forefront of domestic partnership law and ha… Read More

Post Judgment Modification

Whether your divorce decree or child support order was originally entered in San Diego, elsewhere in California, or in another state, you may later need to enforce or modify it. If you, your former spouse, or your child is a resident of San Diego Cou… Read More

Judgment Enforcement

Judges make rulings in divorce and other family law proceedings, but often people fail to follow court orders. It is sometimes necessary to return to court to ask for help enforcing court orders. You may need legal help to enforce orders to pay debts… Read More

Post Judgment Modification

Life constantly changes in the years after a family law matter is resolved and, as a result, earlier support or custody orders may no longer suit your family’s needs. A significant change in circumstances may make existing child custody, parent… Read More

Shaffer & Associates is dedicated to helping people all across San Diego County, including Downtown San Diego, Point Loma, La Jolla, Scripps Ranch, Del Mar, Rancho Santa Fe, Carlsbad, Rancho Bernardo and Poway. We also work with families in Orange County, Riverside County and Los Angeles County.