If you’re like most people contemplating a split from your spouse, you think a regular divorce is the way to go – but instead, a summary dissolution might be right for you.
What is Summary Dissolution?
Summary dissolution is one way to end your marriage or domestic partnership. It’s not for everyone, but for some people, it’s a quicker, less complex way to bring an end to the legal contract you signed with your “other half.”
It’s kind-of a fast-track, and it’s available to all married couples and domestic partners, regardless of gender. You can also use it if you were domestic partners at one time and later married.
Who Qualifies for Summary Dissolution?
Only some people qualify for summary dissolution. You must meet all these requirements to qualify:
- At least one of you must have lived in California for the past 6 months
- At least one of you must also have lived in the county where you file for dissolution for the past 3 months
- You both agree to terminate your marriage or partnership because you have irreconcilable differences
- You do not have minor children together, and neither one of you is pregnant with a shared child
- Your marriage or domestic partnership lasted 5 or fewer years from the date you were married or registered as domestic partners to the date that you separated
- You don’t own any land or other “real property” (like a house or commercial building)
- Neither of you has built up more than $6,000 in debt since you began your marriage or partnership (car loans don’t count)
- You must have less than a certain amount in community property (the amount is subject to change, so ask your attorney about the current limit)
- You both complete and sign a property settlement agreement to divide the community property that you do own together
- You both agree to give up any rights you may have to spousal support
- You have both read and understand California’s Summary Dissolution Information booklet (here)
There is an exception to the residency requirement: If you are a same-sex married couple who no longer lives in California, but you were married in California, you can still file in our state if the state you live in now won’t dissolve your marriage. You’ll have to file in the county where you were married to take this route.
What is the Difference Between Summary Dissolution and Divorce?
Summary dissolution is a divorce. It’s simply one that’s a bit less complex than the traditional route.
Related: Overview of divorce in California
How Long Does it Take to Get a Summary Dissolution in California?
There’s a 6-month waiting period for a summary dissolution. What that means is that your attorney will file your petition for you – and once the 6-month period is over, the court will enter a judgement that orders the dissolution of your marriage or domestic partnership. Once that’s done, you can remarry or start a new domestic partnership – your previous marriage or partnership is officially over.
Is There a Downside to Summary Dissolution in California?
While there isn’t a downside – you still get to dissolve your marriage or domestic partnership using a summary dissolution – the catch is that it’s only available to certain people. You can’t have minor children together (neither biological nor adopted) and you can’t have much community property together.
If you don’t meet the criteria, you’ll have to file for divorce rather than summary dissolution. Divorce brings about the same results.
Do You Need to Talk to a Stockton Divorce Lawyer About Summary Dissolution?
If you think that summary dissolution might be the right option for you to end your marriage or domestic partnership, we can help you. Keep in mind, though, that it’s not for everyone – you may need to end up filing for a standard divorce.
Call us at 209-546-6870 to schedule a consultation with a caring, compassionate and knowledgeable divorce attorney in Stockton right now. We’ll answer your questions about child custody and child support, property division and more.