San Diego Family Law Attorney_edited





Beyond the considerable emotional pain, the end of a marriage is legally complex. Consult a San Diego County attorney if your marriage is ending. Knowledgeable legal advice is necessary to advise and provide representation to protect your rights regarding child custody, financial support, and to divide the property of the marital community.




One of the most difficult aspects of a divorce, or even co-parenting, is creating a child custody agreement. We fight for your child custody and child support rights. It is best to have the help of a skilled San Diego attorney handling child custody cases to make sure that your rights are exerted to the full extent of the law.



Domestic violence takes many forms, and one of the most dangerous types of domestic violence are patterns of behavior that violate your space and your ability to move freely. An experienced family law attorney will help you get that move away or restraining order to protect your rights and your peace of mind. 

Call us! (619) 550-6738

Joseph Willmore, Esq., CFLS 



Attorney Joseph Willmore is a Board Certified Family Law Specialist (CFLS), by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. Joseph exclusively practices family law, which includes divorce, child custody, support, and restraining orders.  Prior to founding Willmore Law Firm, Joseph worked as a senior associate at one of the largest civil litigation and family law firms in the Southwest.  Joseph’s family law practice quickly expanded, due to his reputation for zealous advocacy and ethical practice.


Joseph completed his undergraduate degree in Communication at Arizona State University, and attended law school at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, where he graduated at the top of his class.  Joseph served as an Editor of the Law Review and completed study abroad programs in France and China, honing skills in cultural relations, alternative dispute resolution, and mediation.




Our client agreements are comprehensive, but easy to read and understand. 


Phone calls returned the same day, and your needs are never ignored. 


We are problem solvers that work hard to find you legal solutions within your budget


He offered great advice and was extremely professional. He was readily available for any of my concerns. Joseph ensured that the divorce was amicable during the whole process. I would definitely recommend Joseph for anyone's needs.



I'm so glad I hired Joseph! He was very experienced with the process and the courts, and after talking with him, I immediately felt a huge weight lifted. My nerves were shot every time I had to walk into that courtroom, but with Joseph by my side I could breathe a little easier. 


Joseph was incredible with my divorce. It was going to be messy with split of assets and other nasty fallout from this divorce. My now ex-wife was after everything even though she was caught cheating. Five Stars.



Family Law Practice Overview

Hiring an experienced family law attorney can mean the difference of obtaining shared custody versus sole custody. When we initially meet with our clients, we ask an extensive series of questions to properly understand our client’s wants and needs. 

San Diego Certified Family Law Specialist

  • All Areas of Family Law

  • Child Custody & Visitation

  • Child Support

  • Divorce

  • Division of Marital Debt and Property

  • Adoption

  • Paternity

  • Mediation

  • Military Divorce

  • High Asset Divorce

  • Same-Sex Divorce

  • Enforcing Court Orders

  • Domestic partnerships

  • Complex property division

  • Division of family business

  • Community

  • Child protective services

  • Emancipation

  • Creation of Parenting Plans

  • Physical/Legal Custody

  • Emergency Child Custody Orders

  • Child Abuse/Endangerment

  • Annulments 

  • Post-Divorce Modifications

  • Spousal support

  • Premarital and post-nuptial agreements

  • Domestic partnerships and civil unions

  • Child custody and visitation

  • Restraining order and domestic violence legal assistance

  • Child and spousal support

  • Child abuse, neglect, and parental kidnapping

  • Paternity

  • Collaborative divorce

  • Guardian ad litem

  • Kinship guardianship

  • Mediation

Steps in the Divorce Process in California

Having your divorce finalized in California can take anywhere from 8 to 24 months. When you file your initial petition, the respondent will have about a month to provide a response. Emergency orders will be implemented to prevent the sale or transfer of property. Your medical insurance must also be maintained throughout the divorce proceeding. Counsel may need to file a request for temporary child custody and/or spousal support order pending the conclusion of your divorce.  Read on to learn more about the California divorce process:


1. Filing For Divorce

The first step in the California divorce process is to meet with an attorney to discuss your legal options. Attorney Joseph Willmore reviews his client’s assets and debts and provides him/her with sound legal advice regarding the division of their property. Once the client understands the extent of their property, and how it may be divided under California State law, attorney Joseph Willmore completes and files the formal Petition for Dissolution. The dissolution petition outlines the basic facts of the marital relationship including the date of marriage, the date of separation, the minor children of the marriage, the reason for the divorce, and the request being made to the court for a judgment of dissolution.


2. Service of Process

The petitioner must serve the respondent with the petition for marital dissolution within

120 days of the filing. The respondent will have thirty days from the date of service to provide a response. The response must be served on the petitioner and filed with the court. It is important to respond to the dissolution petition. Failure to respond can result in a default judgment being entered against the respondent.

Upon the answer being served, the divorce proceeding will move to settlement, and if both sides are unsuccessful in reaching a settlement, the matter will go to trial.


3. Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders

As mentioned above, once the Petition for Dissolution is filed and served on the respondent, automatic restraining orders are immediately implemented to protect the marital assets. Both parties are prohibited from moving assets including cash, stocks, retirement accounts, without a court order stating otherwise. Each spouse are also prohibited from canceling or modifying any health insurance, auto insurance, or life insurance coverage without the express consent of the other spouse or court order.


4. Fiduciary Duties During Divorce

Spouses owe one another fiduciary duties throughout the divorce process. Once a petition for dissolution is filed and served, marital assets are treated as business property. For example, if the parties own a home or investment property together, then business must continue to operate as usual despite the divorce proceeding. If a party intentionally damages any marital property in which a fiduciary duty is owed, then he/she can be held liable for damages. The asset can be awarded to the non-offending spouse by the court.


5. Full Disclosure Requirement

Each party is required to serve a Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure along with related financial documents on the opposing party. This must be done within 45 days of filing the petition for divorce. 

All assets and debts must be disclosed. If a spouse hides assets or debts, legal action can be taken against him/her.  A full disclosure must be made in order for a divorce to be granted.


6.Division of Assets and Debts

Each party is required to serve the Schedule of Assets and Debts on one another. It includes a list of all marital assets and debts. Each party must list the date of acquisition, the fair market value of the property, and any pending loan obligation owed on the property. The Income and Expense Declaration must also be served by both parties. It includes an overview of each party’s monthly income and monthly expenses.


7. The Six Month Waiting Period

Under California State law, parties must wait at least six months from the date service of the petition for dissolution to be officially divorced. This mean the martial status of the parties will not terminate until this period is completed. If the judgment of dissolution is entered by the court prior to the six-month period ending, the settlement provisions will not go into effect until the period is over. The judge will set a future date in which the judgment will be applicable.




Tel: 619-550-6738

Fax: 619-236-0677

101 W. Broadway,

Suite #1770

San Diego, CA 92101




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© 2019 by Willmore Law Firm

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. Many factors contribute to providing legal advice, including the specific facts of a situation. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. Joseph Willmore is licensed to practice law in California and Arizona. We invite you to contact us but please be aware that contacting us does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until an attorney-client relationship has been established. Willmore Law Firm provides legal services throughout Southern California. Serving San Diego, San Ysidro, National City, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, Coronado, La Mesa, El Cajon, Santee, Lakeside, Lemon Grove, Spring Valley, Otay Mesa, Alpine, La Jolla, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Poway, Rancho Bernardo, Ramona, Cardiff, Encinitas, Rancho Santa Fe, Escondido, San Marcos, Vista, Carlsbad, Oceanside, Fallbrook, Temecula, Julian, Pine Valley, San Diego County,