Summary Dissolution – Simplified Divorce

California offers a simplified divorce process to all couples that qualify. Summary dissolution is the most cost-effective way to get divorced for San Diego residents. In addition, the couple is required to file less paperwork and must only pay one filing fee because they will jointly file the same petition. However, the summary dissolution process will not expedite a divorce beyond the minimum statutory requirement. In California, there is a six-month waiting period for a judgment terminating marital status.

Only qualified couples may pursue a summary dissolution. In order to qualify the couple must meet the following requirements under California Family Code Section 2400: (1) the marriage is not more than five years as of the date of separation – this is a strict qualification, (2) the couple must not have any minor children, (3) neither party can own any interest in real property, (4) the debt incurred by one or both parties must be minimal and cannot exceed $4000 (this amount excludes any unpaid obligation with respect to an automobile), (5) the value of all community property assets cannot exceed $25,000 excluding all encumbrances and debts, (7) the value of all the separate property assets of either party cannot exceed $25,000, excluding all encumbrances and (8) both spouses must waive their right to any current or future spousal support. The above list is not exhaustive; to view all requirements, see California Family Code Section 2400.

If all of the above requirements are met, both parties must agree to pursue a summary dissolution. If, at any time during the process, either party changes his or her mind and does not wish to proceed via summary dissolution, he or she may file a revocation of the summary dissolution petition. Then, the couple is required to proceed with the typical, more complicated, divorce process. In addition to deciding to pursue a summary dissolution, the parties must execute an agreement setting forth the division of assets and assumption of liabilities of the community. This means that the parties must be able to divide their own assets and debts in a way agreeable to both parties. As in a typical divorce proceeding, both parties must exchange financial documents and disclose all assets and debts.

If you are interested in a divorce from your spouse or a legal separation we can provide you with information and guide you through your options. Our team of experienced attorneys is prepared to litigate on your behalf.

If you wish to schedule a consultation with Nancy J. Bickford, call us at (858) 793-8884.