Getting a divorce is not as simple as it appears to be; the confusion usually springs when terms like “Divorce,” “Dissolution of Marriage,” and “Summary Dissolution” come into play. While they all mean the ending of a marriage, there are a few systematic differences between the terms that make all the difference.
Here are a few differences and similarities in meaning you may encounter in the state of California:
- “Divorce” and “Dissolution of Marriage” are the same, with the terms usually used interchangeably. Further, in California, which is a “no-fault” state, blame cannot be assigned to either spouse
- “Summary Dissolution” is a shorter, and easier way of ending a marriage than a ”Dissolution of Marriage”/ “Divorce”
Closer Look at Summary Dissolution
So, with “Summary Dissolution” being an easier option to end a relationship (i.e., marriage), why isn’t everyone doing it? Similarly to getting an annulment, there are a few requirements that need to be met for a “Summary Dissolution” to take place.
Requirements for Summary Dissolution:
- Both partners want to end the domestic partnership or marriage, usually due to irreconcilable differences
- The wife may not be with any children when you file for summary dissolution; you don’t have any biological or adopted children together under the age of 18
- You cannot have been married longer than five years
- Neither spouse owns land, buildings or any similar property. Having a lease to your name is okay as long as it does not contain an option to purchase
- Since the beginning of your marriage, neither of the spouses has incurred more than $6,000 in debt. Car payments can be excluded
- You and your spouse have accumulated no more than $38,000 in community property while being together in marriage or domestic partnership. You have to include any deferred compensation here but can exclude “property” like cars. “Deferred compensation” are things like retirement benefits, a 401k, and similar
- Neither spouse has accumulated more than $38,000 in separate property during the marriage or has owned more than this amount before entering a marriage. It includes any inheritance or gift you got during the marriage
- You are waiving your rights to spousal support
- Once the court begins the summary dissolution, you must waive your right to appeal
- You or your spouse must have been a resident of the County the divorce is being filed in for at least three months, and a California resident for at least six months
- Both spouses agree on the way belongings and debts will be divided; therefore, both sides are open to dividing their community property by signing a property settlement agreement. Your lawyer should get all the paperwork for you and your spouse to sign for the contract to be effective. It usually includes bills of sale, title certificates, and other transfers
- Both spouses agree to have read and understood Summary Dissolution Information; the California Courts provide this booklet
Once all these requirements are met, you and your spouse can file for a Summary Dissolution
Unlike Summary Dissolution, filing for divorce doesn’t include as many specifics. Read the most common nine steps to getting a divorce to gain a better insight into what getting a divorce entails. Also, if you are interested in knowing more about divorce, annulment, and legal separation, or how to choose the right divorce process, you can find all the information at Platinum Paralegal. Further, you can contact us for any additional information you are interested in.