Summary dissolution of marriage is a proceeding through which some married couples may file a joint petition and obtain a divorce without a court hearing. Many couples that qualify to file a summary dissolution often choose not to use this process because of it disadvantages and new complexities. Both spouses must agree to all of the terms of a summary dissolution, and either party can unilaterally cancel it for any reason before the dissolution is final.
In addition, although summary dissolution used to be known for its “simplified” process,” over the years most courts have have increased the “paper requirements” for these matters. In fact, in many instances, the summary dissolution process can be more complicated than filing for a regular divorce. For these reasons, often individuals elect to file a regular dissolution proceeding.
Qualifications for Summary Dissolution
Answer YES or NO to the following questions to see if you qualify to file a summary dissolution proceeding in California.
- Your spouse is willing to sign a joint petition for Dissolution of Marriage and a Marital Termination Agreement.
- Either you or your spouse has been a California resident for at least 6 months and a resident of the same county for at least 90 days prior to filing the divorce.
- There has been no more than five years between your date of marriage and your date of separation (the day when one spouse intended to make a complete, final break with conduct furthering that intent – i.e. permanently moving out vs. a temporary separation.)
- You and your spouse have NOT given birth to any children as a result of this marriage, and the wife is not currently pregnant..
- Your community property has a value of less than $40,000 (excluding value of automobiles).
- The value of each of your separate property is less than $40,000 (excluding value of automobiles).
- Neither of you own any real property.
- Your community debts and obligations are less than $6,000 (excluding any amounts you may owe for an automobile loan).
- You and your spouse agree regarding all issues concerning the division of community property and community debts.
If you were able to answer YES to all of the above, you may qualify to file a SUMMARY DISSOLUTION PROCEEDING.