What to Expect from a Summary Dissolution

May 9, 2023
By Alternative Divorce Solutions

For a limited number of couples, a summary dissolution may be the alternative to divorce they’re looking for. Summary dissolution is essentially a divorce, but the process is much shorter, simpler, and easier to undertake because of the stringent requirements that must be met in order to qualify. Let’s take a closer look at what to expect if you pursue a summary dissolution in California.

Who Can File?

Summary dissolution is a rare option in that only a select few actually qualify for it. For starters, couples who wish to pursue a summary dissolution instead of a divorce must have been married less than five years, have no children, and have a limited number of assets and debts that must be divided.

What is a “limited number” of debts and assets? First, neither spouse may have acquired more than $6,000 in debt since the start of your marriage, though you may exclude car payments. You also may not own any property or buildings, but you may have a lease on an apartment or other building so long as there is no option to buy on it. For assets, both of you may have no more than $38,000 in separately-held property, and you may not have more than $38,000 total in mutual community property.

What You’ll Give Up

As a part of a summary dissolution, both of you must agree to waive a few rights you might otherwise have as a part of a normal divorce. Both spouses must waive their right to pursue spousal support as a part of a summary dissolution, as well as the right to appeal the dissolution once it’s entered into the records. This can worry a lot of people who wish to pursue these rights in order to ensure their future won’t be jeopardized by their now-ending marriage. However, if you do wish to pursue spousal support, then you must file for a regular dissolution (divorce).

The Process

If you and your spouse wish to pursue this option for ending your marriage, start by reading form FL-810, which is the court’s Summary Dissolution Information pamphlet. This contains worksheets for dividing debts, community property, and determining separate property on your own. However, having an Orange County divorce mediator can help you create a mutually-beneficial solution that meets both of your needs. Once you have completed these worksheets, you’ll need to sign off on them in order to create your property settlement agreement.

From there, once you file your Joint Petition for Summary Dissolution with the court in a county where you qualify for this process, you’ll start the clock on a six-month waiting period. Once this period passes, your judgement will be entered and your marriage will officially be dissolved.

Get help with creating your property settlement agreement and any other part of the summary dissolution process by calling Alternative Divorce Solutions today at 949-368-2121!


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