Category: Divorce

Summary Dissolution Vs. Divorce

Summary Dissolution Vs. Divorce

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:

  1. Both partners want to end the domestic partnership or marriage, usually due to irreconcilable differences
  2. 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
  3. You cannot have been married longer than five years
  4. 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
  5. Since the beginning of your marriage, neither of the spouses has incurred more than $6,000 in debt. Car payments can be excluded
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. You are waiving your rights to spousal support
  9. Once the court begins the summary dissolution, you must waive your right to appeal
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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.

Divorce, Annulment and Legal Separation and their Differences

No matter what the public says, going separate ways with your partner is not the end of the world. If anything, it’s one of the healthiest ways for both of you (and your children) to grow and find happiness elsewhere. We grow together, and we grow apart, and being rational and strong enough to understand when the time has come to call it quits is one of the most mature decisions you can make.

If you are in the life stage where staying together is no longer an option, there are three common ways to end the relationship: divorce, marriage annulment and legal separation. Read below to find out the difference between the three:


A divorce is an official way to end your marriage or domestic partnership. Once you are divorced, you are free to enter new relationships, become a domestic partner or marry again as you are no longer tied to your (ex) partner in any legal way. After both parties sign divorce papers, each of the partners is considered single.  

During the divorce process, you are allowed to ask the judge for orders like spousal support, child support, custody and visitation, a division of property, domestic violence restraining orders, and other orders.

Divorce is also known as “dissolution of marriage” or “dissolution of domestic partnership.”

Legal Separation

Unlike divorce, a legal separation is not an official end to marriage or domestic partnership. If you are legally separated, you can’t marry anyone else. Legally, you are also not to enter partnerships with someone else other than your legal spouse; however, this rule is often broken as partners separate and start seeing other people.

A legal separation is the best option for couples who don’t want to get divorced but want to live apart. A legal separation gives equal rights to both parties to decide on property, money, and parenting issues. Couples who file for legal separation often still love each other but are going through a phase in their lives where they feel it’s important they figure their issues individually.

If you file for a legal separation, you may later ask the court to either withdraw your request or move onto a divorce.

Just as the case with divorce, a legal separation case allows you to ask the judge for orders like child support, partner support, spousal support, custody and visitation, domestic violence restraining orders, or any other requests.


Annulments aren’t that common when it comes to partner separation. If you do ask for an annulment, you will have to go to hearing with a judge, anyhow. An annulment means that a partnership is NOT legally valid.

What is good cause for a marriage to be annulled? Usually, factors like incestuous or bigamous partnerships, relationships declared “void” because of fraud, force, physical or mental incapacity, one of the spouses was already married or in a registered domestic partnership, one of the spouses age (i.e. if they were too young to marry or enter into a domestic partnership legally,) and similar. Annulment is also called “nullity of marriage” or “nullity of domestic partnership.”

What about the children?

For spouses who have children in common, they both have the right to ask the judge for custody. The best way to establish this relationship is to consult with a lawyer and find the best option.

   Any form of separation is hard, mainly if you’ve spent a good part of your life with your partner. To make things run as smoothly as possible and avoid unpleasant situations, hire a lawyer or an advisor with years of experience in family law to help. Contact Platinum Paralegals for more information.

Quick Guide: Choosing The Correct Divorce Process

Wondering how to file a divorce and where to begin? Choosing the right divorce process is very important if you want to go through the experience as painless as possible. In this article, we will talk about the necessary steps you need to take to finish the divorce process correctly.

Preparing the Forms

If you want to start the divorce process without a lawyer, you will need to find and complete all the necessary forms by yourself. The good news is you can obtain these forms online on the California Courts website, and here you can also find instructions for each form in video and PDF format.

All California courts use the same primary forms, but there may be some additional forms required depending on where you live. You can find out whether there are any required additional forms in your particular courthouse on the website, too.

The Los Angeles Superior Court Website is an excellent place to learn what to expect. It provides links for all the local forms required by Los Angeles County judges.

When completing the forms, make sure you give detailed answers to all the questions asked. If you can, fill out the forms on a computer.

Filing the Forms

Once you feel you are ready, visit your local courthouse and ask to submit the divorce documents. The minimum of materials needed to file for divorce is the summons, petition, and in case you have children, the Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act.

Unless you complete a Request to Waive Court Fees, you will need to pay the necessary fee. If the court decides to grant your request and that you are unable to pay the fee, you won’t have to pay to file the documents.

Once you give the documents to the clerk, they will stamp them, and you will receive copies.

Serving the Forms

You should serve your spouse with the documents immediately after you’ve prepared and filed them. It is imperative that everyone knows what’s going on, and the service of process is critical in the legal system. Your spouse has to have their opportunity to “appear” or, in some cases, argue their point of view.

The service of the process makes sure that no one, not even your spouse, is ever ambushed in the courtroom.

If your spouse hasn’t hired a lawyer, then you should serve the forms to them directly. If your spouse has retained a lawyer, you will need to serve the lawyer at the lawyer’s office.

Financial Disclosures

Once the divorce process begins, you will have to provide information about your financial status to the court and your spouse. You will need to complete the Declaration of Disclosure and either the Financial Statement or the Income and Expense Declaration.  You will also need to complete forms regarding assets and debts, and a proof of service.

The documents in question detail each spouse’s financial situation, from employment status to liabilities and assets to monthly expenses.

Obtaining a lawyer or an advisor with years of experience in family law will make the whole divorce process more pleasant for you. Divorce isn’t easy, but with professionals at your side, it will be bearable. Contact Platinum Paralegals for more information.