Does my divorce qualify for a summary dissolution?

You and your spouse married only two years ago. Though you tried to work out your relationship issues, you decide that you will not remain a couple, and you want to divorce in California.

A process exists in California called summary dissolution. A summary dissolution, or summary divorce, quickly separates two individuals if their relationship meets certain requirements. Not having to attend court hearings, provide evidence and engage in lengthy divorce proceedings entices some couples to determine whether they qualify, and if they prove eligible, they can jointly apply to separate.

Summary dissolution eligibility

According to California law, spouses that can apply for summary dissolution must maintain certain requirements. As divorces usually involve separating large pieces of property or determining custodial rights, summary dissolutions do not apply to couples with significant assets or children. The following list encompasses requirements for summary dissolution proceedings.

You and your spouse must:

  • Have no children
  • Have been married or engaged in a domestic partnership for less than 5 years
  • Not own much property
  • Not owe much debt
  • Not require spousal support after separation
  • Agree on all terms of separation including:
    • How property will be split
    • How debts will be divided
    • How you will proceed with your home

The division of property occurs under community property laws in California. Community property, or property acquired together during your legal relationship, will face division. Separate property, or property you and your spouse owned separately before your marriage, will be awarded to the respective spouse.

Determining your property’s worth

The summary dissolution petition will have you determine the fair market value of your property together, and the court will review and verify this when assigning community property rights after a split. For example, if you and your spouse claim your car does not exceed the value of $10,000, and you want to keep the car, a court will determine that your spouse requires $10,000 in other assets because your car was purchased by both spouses and used during the marriage.

Summary dissolution requires collaboration and cooperation. If you are eligible for summary dissolution and can agree to all elements of property division, you have the opportunity to legally separate in as little as 6 months after filing.

Know that experienced family law attorneys have the expertise and years of experience to give you sound advice during summary dissolution or divorce proceedings. Utilize their aid when determining property rights and assets, and you may have the best opportunity to dissolve your marriage as fairly as possible.

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