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Difference Between Summary Dissolution and Divorce

Difference Between Summary Dissolution and Divorce

Divorce vs. Summary Dissolution

There’s often a lot of confusion surrounding divorce, dissolution of marriage, and summary dissolution. One thing is for sure – they all mean the ending of a marriage. In California, divorce and dissolution of marriage are the same – in fact, a lot of times these terms are used interchangeably. This is because California is a no-fault state – meaning blame can not be assigned to either spouse. Summary dissolution is also a divorce, but it is an easier way of ending a marriage than a divorce or dissolution of marriage.

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What Is Summary Dissolution?

Summary dissolution is the most cost-effective way to get divorced in California. The couple is required to file less paperwork and is only required to pay one filing fee because they jointly file the same petition. But a summary dissolution will not expedite a divorce beyond the minimum statutory requirement. California requires a six-month waiting period for a judgment terminating marital status.

So if a summary dissolution is an easier way, why doesn’t everyone just go that route? Because there are specific requirements under California Family Code Section 2400 that must be met in order to qualify your divorce for a summary dissolution.

Requirements for Summary Dissolution

The following is a list of those requirements:

  1. Both of you want the marriage or domestic partnership to end because of irreconcilable differences, and have agreed to filing a summary dissolution.
  2. At least one spouse must have been a California resident for at least 6 months, and a resident of the County the divorce is being filed in for at least 3 months.
  3. You have no children together, and no adopted children under the age of 18. Also, the wife may not be pregnant during the time of filing.
  4. You have to have been married for less than 5 years.
  5. Neither spouse owns any real property, such as land or buildings. You can have a lease, but it must not contain an option to purchase. The lease must end within one year from the date of filing the summary dissolution petition.
  6. Neither spouse has incurred more than $6,000 in debt since the beginning of your marriage. You are able to exclude car payments.
  7. There is $38,000 or less in community property – assets or debts acquired or earned during marriage. You are able to exclude cars here, but you must include any deferred compensation. Deferred compensation are things like a 401K, or retirement benefits earned during the time of the marriage.
  8. Neither spouse has more than $38,000 in separate property – anything owned before the marriage or after separation. This includes any gift or inheritance you got during the marriage.
  9. Neither spouse has disagreements regarding how belongings and debts will be divided, and are thus able to sign a property settlement agreement, which divides your community property. You will need to sign the necessary paperwork to make this agreement effective, which means taking care of title certificates, bills of sale, or other transfers.
  10. You must waive your rights to spousal support.
  11. You must waive your right to appeal once the court enters the summary dissolution
  12. You both agree to have read and understood a booklet called Summary Dissolution Information – this is provided by the California Courts.

Additional Requirements for Summary Dissolution

If all the requirements are met, both parties still must agree on pursuing a summary dissolution. If either party changes his or her mind and does not wish to proceed via summary dissolution at any time during the process, he or she is able to file a revocation of the summary dissolution petition. At that point the couple will need to proceed with the typical divorce process. To pursue a summary dissolution, the parties must also execute an agreement that sets forth the division of assets and assumption of liabilities of the community. What this means is that the parties must be able to divide their own assets and debts in a way that is agreeable to both parties. Both parties will need to exchange financial documents as well as disclosure of all assets and debts.

If all of these requirements are met, you can file for summary dissolution. The team at Law Offices of Korol & Velen is ready to help you figure out which process is the best route for you to take.

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