Summary Dissolution FAQs
Getting a divorce in California can be a complicated process. If the parties disagree on divorce terms, a divorce proceeding could take months or years to complete. Divorces involving disputes related to child custody, spousal support, property division, or child support can be complicated.
However, many couples choose summary dissolution as a quick and easy way to get divorced in California. This alternative divorce option is only available in specific cases. Before you begin a summary dissolution divorce, there are some things you should know.
Do I Qualify for a Summary Dissolution of Marriage?
Summary dissolution is not available in all divorce cases. The couple must meet specific requirements to qualify for a summary dissolution. The requirements for summary dissolution are:
- The marriage lasted five years or less
- At least one spouse has lived in California for at least six months
- At least one spouse has lived in the county where the dissolution is filed for at least three months
- The couple does not have any children together and is not expecting any children
- Neither spouse owes more than $6,000 in debt incurred during the marriage, except for car loans
- The couple does not own any real estate
- You have less than $47,000 in community property (property that you own together)
- You have less than $47,000 in separate property (property that you owned before getting married)
Both spouses must agree to end the marriage or partnership based on irreconcilable differences. They must sign a property settlement agreement and the Summary Dissolution forms. Each spouse waives their right to appeal and their right to spousal support.
What Is the Filing Process for a Summary Dissolution?
The process of filing a summary dissolution includes:
- Share financial information with your spouse
- Complete the forms
- File the forms with the court
- Pay the filing fee
Each party must read and sign the Summary Dissolution Information form. This form is required because it discusses a spouse’s rights and obligations for obtaining a summary dissolution of marriage. Forms and worksheets are available from the court.
It is important to read the information and forms carefully. Each spouse must attach copies of supporting documents to the forms, such as bank statements and tax returns. Failing to complete the forms correctly and provide all required documentation could delay the summary dissolution or result in the court denying your petition.
What Is the Cost of a Summary Dissolution?
There is only one filing fee for a summary dissolution. The fee is $435 to $450. You must pay the fee when you file the petition for summary dissolution.
You might qualify for a fee waiver if you cannot afford to pay the filing fee. Ask the clerk of court for a Request to Waive Court Fees form. If you receive public benefits, your income is below a specific amount, or you cannot afford to pay the fee and your living expenses, the court might waive the filing fee.
How Long Does It Take to Complete the Summary Dissolution?
There is a six-month waiting period after filing your forms to obtain a summary dissolution. After six months, the court grants the summary dissolution if you filed all forms and required documents. You will not need to attend a court hearing or do anything further to obtain a divorce.
What Happens if a Spouse Changes Their Mind After Filing for a Summary Dissolution?
Either spouse may change their mind during the six-month waiting period. If so, they must file a Notice of Revocation of Petition for Summary Dissolution with the court. The form stops the process and closes the case.
If either spouse wants to end the marriage, they must file for a regular divorce. If your spouse revokes the petition for summary dissolution, it is in your best interest to seek legal advice from a divorce attorney immediately.
Do I Need a Divorce Lawyer to File Summary Dissolution?
You are not required to have legal representation to obtain a summary dissolution. The process is designed to end short-term marriages that do not result in children when the spouses have minimal assets and debts. Both spouses agree to end the marriage, so litigation is unnecessary.
If you choose to hire a lawyer, your attorney completes and files all documents with the court. Even though a summary dissolution is a streamlined divorce process, the court requires couples to complete numerous forms. Therefore, you may need a lawyer to ensure the forms are completed correctly and all supporting documentation is filed with the court.
You might not be entirely confident that you and your spouse agree on every detail of your divorce, or you may have questions about completing the summary dissolution forms. If so, it is best to speak with a divorce lawyer before proceeding.
Contact the family and divorce law firm of Berenji & Associates for help today.
If you’re going through a divorce, you need a strong team on your side fighting for your rights. Call Berenji & Associates today to know how we can assist you.