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Rombro & Manley LLP
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Is a summary dissolution possible with my divorce?

Understandably, divorce in California is categorized as a complicated and acrimonious situation in general. This may be due to high-profile divorces in which people have significant income, assets, children and support disputes. However, some cases are relatively cordial and the parties can negotiate and part ways without an extended court battle. A summary dissolution could be a relatively painless way to end a marriage.

There are certain requirements to be able to divorce with a summary dissolution. The parties must have had a marriage that lasted for a minimum of five years; they cannot have children either through birth or adoption and cannot be expecting a child; they do not own land or buildings in full or in part; do not rent any land or buildings; and they do not have debts surpassing $6,000 from the date of the marriage (excluding car loans).

In addition, they cannot have separate property that exceeds $45,000 in value (again, not counting cars); they agree that there will be no spousal support; and they sign an agreement for property and debt division. Residency requirements are essential for a summary dissolution. One spouse must have resided in California for a minimum of the previous six months and in the county in which they are filing for a minimum of three months. For those who do not yet meet this requirement, it is possible to file for a legal separation. To have a summary dissolution, they must wait until they meet the residency requirements.

As these rules show, a summary dissolution is not for everyone. In many cases, it is not a viable option and people should move forward with a regular divorce in which there will be support, property division and other factors negotiated or decided in court. Still, a summary dissolution may be worthwhile if there are few issues about which the parties disagree and they want to end the marriage relatively quickly. For help with a divorce whether a summary dissolution is possible or not, legal assistance may be vital. Consulting with those qualified in family law might help.