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Amicable Divorce: Do You Qualify for a Summary Dissolution?

Posted by Ahluwalia Law Professional Corporation | Jun 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

Rob and Catelyn were only married for two years before they realized that they weren't happy together. Both later admitted that they had entered the marriage with unspoken assumptions: he didn't want children, but she believed that after they married, he would change his mind. She wanted to stay in San Jose, but he presumed that after the honeymoon, she would finally agree to move to Dallas, where he had family.

Unlike some couples whose expectations fell short of reality, Rob and Catelyn are not bitter. They understand that they are incompatible in ways that can't be fixed by marriage counseling and want to go their separate ways. They also agree on how marital property will be divided, and neither one wants spousal support.

This amicability, along with the fact that they don't have children, may allow Rob and Catelyn to end their relationship via summary dissolution instead of divorce.

What Is Summary Dissolution?

Summary dissolution is an alternative to divorce in California. If a couple agrees about how their marriage or domestic partnership will end, this process can end their union without the time and expense of divorce.

How Do You Qualify for a Summary Dissolution?

Certain qualifications must be met before a court will grant a summary dissolution of your marriage or domestic partnership. You may file a joint petition if the marriage lasted no more than five years, you have no children (and are not expecting a child), and you have less than $43,000 worth of community property acquired during the marriage (with the exception of cars).  At least one of you must meet the following residency requirements:

  • Residency in California for six months before filing the petition AND
  • Residency in the county where the petition will be filed for three months

In addition, neither of you may:

  • Own real property, such as a building or land
  • Rent any real property (with the exception of your residence, unless you are in a one-year lease with the option to purchase)
  • Own more than $43,000 worth of separate property, with the exception of cars
  • Have accumulated more than $6,000 in debt since you married, with the exception of car payments

Both of you must agree to end the marriage or partnership due to irreconcilable differences and waive your respective rights to receive spousal support and file an appeal. You must also present documentation confirming your separate incomes and sign the following documents:

  • The Summary Dissolution information form, which outlines your respective rights and obligations.
  • The property settlement agreement, which is used to divide community property, assign responsibility for debts, and confirm ownership of separate property

What Is the Summary Dissolution Process?

After both of you have completed and signed all necessary forms, you must file the petition with the county clerk. After six months (during which time either of you may revoke the petition), the court will enter a judgment of summary dissolution. At no time do you have to appear in court.

If you and your spouse or partner have few assets and are on the same page regarding division of property and debt, summary dissolution can be an amicable and hassle-free way to end the relationship. A California family law attorney can provide you with the guidance you need to ensure a smooth dissolution and a happier future.

Contact a California Family Law Attorney

Although summary dissolution is less complicated than divorce, there is still a lot of paperwork to fill out, and you may have questions about whether or not you qualify. At Ahluwalia Law P.C., we can help you decide whether summary dissolution is suitable for your situation and provide legal counsel during the appropriate outcome. For more information or to get started, contact us.

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