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Joseph R. Zoucha, Attorney & Counselor at Law

Is summary dissolution an option for my California divorce?

California couples at the end of a marriage will often be under the impression that the case will be filled with rancor and dispute, and they will battle over every aspect of the case. For many, this is undeniably true. For others, the case is not as difficult, and there are factors that will let the couple use what is known as a summary dissolution.

A summary dissolution is completed faster than other types of divorces and this generally prevents an extended and complex situation that will cost time, money and lead to an uncertain outcome for each. Even though a summary dissolution is a faster method of divorce, and it is not necessary to speak to a judge, it is wise to have legal representation to be fully protected.

Those considering a summary dissolution must meet the following criteria: the marriage must have been shorter than five years from marriage date to the separation date, there can be no children whether born or adopted and there cannot be a current pregnancy, there can be no ownership in land or buildings and there can be no renting of land or buildings except the current residence provided there is no one-year lease or a buy option.

In addition, the following must be in place: there cannot be more than $6,000 in debts from the date of the marriage, not counting a car loan, there cannot be separate property of greater value than $43,000 not counting cars, the parties must agree that there will be no spousal support and there must be a signed agreement dividing property - including vehicles - and the debts.

There is a residency requirement where one spouse must have resided in California for a minimum of six months and for three months in the county where the summary dissolution is being filed. If this is not met, it is still possible to file for a legal separation until the appropriate amount of time is met and then there can be a summary dissolution.

Although it is unfortunate if any marriage does not work out, the divorce does not need to be one in which the parties are fighting the entire time. It does not necessarily need to be amicable, but for those who meet the criteria, agree on the basic issues, are not seeking support and do not have children, a summary dissolution could be a reasonable alternative. A law firm that helps people in all different circumstances can provide representation for the divorce process even in a summary dissolution.

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