Is a summary dissolution the right choice to end my marriage?

On Behalf of | Jan 4, 2022 | Divorce |

In California, the end of a marriage can be an emotionally wrenching time with both parties wondering what the future holds. There are many issues that come to the forefront with any divorce including property and debt division, spousal support, child custody, child support, parenting time and more. Many cases are contentious and take extensive time and money to complete. However, not every case is like that. Some people can simply end the marriage and move forward with a summary dissolution. This is considered one of the simpler types of divorce. Still, there are basics that must be in place before a couple can use this option. For those who meet the criteria, it might be the preferred alternative to settle the case quickly and move on.

What does the law say about a summary dissolution?

There are certain conditions that must be in place before a couple can get a summary dissolution. People might enter the process thinking they need to show why they want the divorce and that the other person did something wrong for it to be granted. In truth, all that needs to be said is that there are irreconcilable differences and that the marriage is broken. The courts are concerned about children in a divorce. Their best interests are paramount. If there are no children in the marriage, it likely removes much of the foundation for discord and a summary dissolution is possible. Duration of a marriage is also considered. For longer marriages, there is a greater chance of disharmony, therefore a summary dissolution can be granted if the marriage lasted for a maximum of five years.

Property division can stoke dispute in a divorce. If there was a marital home, investments, retirement accounts, a business and confusion over whether property is marital property, separate property or commingled, then a summary dissolution is not appropriate. However, if there is no real property from the marriage – except for a lease under certain conditions – then this form of divorce is appropriate. Regarding the lease, there cannot be an option to purchase, it ends within one year from when the petition was filed and unpaid obligations do not exceed $4,000. Most marriages, regardless of how long it lasts, will have some joint property. For a summary dissolution, the value of community property must not go beyond $25,000. Separate property cannot go beyond that amount. The parties must have agreed how to divide their assets and must waive any right to receiving support from the other. There can be no right to appeal.

For some couples, a summary dissolution is the right choice

A summary dissolution is a relatively painless way to get a divorce in California. Still, with any planned divorce, there are frequent problems that arise. Some are expected and others are unexpected. Even if there is a chance to end a marriage in this simplified manner, that does not eliminate the need to be legally protected. In cases where there is a chance to divorce using this process, it is wise to have professional guidance. Rushing through is generally a mistake no matter the circumstances. Discussing the case with experienced professionals and having representation is useful no matter the situation.