What Is Summary Dissolution Of Marriage And How It Works In California?

Divorce and dissolution of marriage are two ways to end a marriage or a domestic partnership in California. Both have their pros and cons. Divorces are often tedious, long, stressful, and expensive. In contrast, summary dissolution is quick, less complicated, and cheap. However, summary dissolution is not for everyone, nor is it applicable in every relationship. So, you may ask yourself, why do I need a Sacramento family law attorney? If it is such a simple process? The answer is it still involves court proceedings (however minimal) and filing of papers that an attorney can help you with.

Summary Dissolution of a marriage or domestic partnership is an ideal option when you have no children, little to no joint assets or debts, and the partnership or marriage lasted five years or less. A family law attorney can help you achieve your goal and get an appropriate settlement quicker.

What are the requirements to qualify for a summary dissolution in California?

There are strict qualifying requirements for summary dissolution. As such, not every couple qualifies for it. These are the most relevant factors that determine your qualification for summary dissolution in California;

  • You or your partner or spouse must be a California resident for six months or more.
  • You must have lived in the county where you file for dissolution for three months or more.
  • Both partners must agree to end the partnership or marriage, citing ‘irreconcilable differences’.
  • There are no minor children part of the relationship.
  • Neither partner is pregnant.
  • The marriage or domestic partnership is less than five years old.
  • Neither partner rents land or buildings (except the current residence).
  • Neither partner has an unpaid debt exceeding $6,000 (besides car notes).
  • You do not possess marital assets with a worth exceeding $45,000 total (including retirement & deferred compensation, but not including automobiles).
  • Neither partner has assets worth exceeding $45,000.
  • Both partners have signed an agreement for settlement regarding the division of assets and debts.
  • Both partners agree to transfer assets and debts in accordance with the settlement agreement.
  • Neither partner is seeking alimony.
  • Both partners have read and understood the summary dissolution information booklet.

You can certainly represent yourself, but it is still better to hire a family lawyer for summary dissolution of marriage in California. The process is simpler than divorce but may still trouble you without a dedicated professional’s help.

According to California law, if you and your partner or spouse meet all the legal requirements, the court will issue a dissolution judgment and notice of entry of judgment. It will list your divorce date as six months after the filing date for summary dissolution. Accordingly, you cannot remarry until the court issues the dissolution and notice of entry judgement. 

Finalize your summary dissolution

Unlike a divorce, no court hearings are generally required for a summary dissolution in California. The court may either immediately issue a judgement granting the dissolution when filing your petition and other relevant documents or mail you the judgement at a later date.