Splitting couples in California often look for any viable option to avoid the divorce process. If you are in this position, one option you may consider is a summary dissolution.
A summary dissolution under California law is a divorce, but it offers an expedited legal process for those who qualify. Very few couples, however, have the option to use a summary dissolution due to the many conditional requirements. It does simplify the process for those who have the option.
Summary dissolutions are a divorce and not just a legal separation. But completing a summary dissolution requires far less paperwork and litigation than a traditional divorce, and it may mean that you and your partner can split without having to appear in court at all.
This option allows couples to dissolve both a marriage and a domestic partnership at the same time, making them a promising option for many same-sex couples.
In order to qualify for a summary dissolution, with few exceptions, you must have lived in the state of California for at least six months and have lived in the county where you plan to file at least three months.
In addition to this, you must meet certain conditions. These conditions include the stipulation that couples must have been married (or in a domestic partnership) for less than five years, have no children together and agree that neither partner will ever receive spousal support.
Additionally, summary dissolutions impose limits on the property a couple can own. For example, couples cannot own any part of any real property and cannot rent any real property together beyond their current residence. There are also very restrictive limits on the assets the couple can own together and how much each partner can own individually.
To complete a summary dissolution, you will have to work out a property division agreement together before entering the process, meaning that couples will need to be able to negotiate most of the terms of their divorce.
Summary dissolutions can take some of the headaches out of divorce, but most couples will need to proceed with the traditional process. California’s judicial system recommends still hiring a lawyer to represent you in the summary dissolution process if you qualify.