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What is the criteria for a divorce by summary dissolution?

Many couples in California who have determined that their marriage is not working would like to get a divorce. However, there are concerns about the cost and time it will take to make it happen. For those whose issues are simple and prefer to avoid going before a judge, a summary dissolution might be the way to go. However, people must understand that there are certain conditions that must be in place to get a summary dissolution. Knowing these is the first step.

The parties must meet the jurisdictional requirements to get divorced in the state. There must be irreconcilable differences that have resulted in the marriage being irretrievably broken. The couple cannot have any children from the relationship that were born while they were married or were adopted while they were married. There cannot be a current pregnancy. The marriage cannot have lasted for more than five years. There are property requirements with a summary dissolution. Neither party can have an interest in any real property apart from a lease on a residence that each party occupies and one that satisfies the following: there is no option to purchase within the lease and the lease will terminate within one year of the date at which the petition for dissolution was filed.

The couple cannot have unpaid obligations that go beyond $4,000. These can be incurred by either of the spouses or both and have happened after the date at which they were married. Unpaid obligations for an automobile are excluded. Community property assets -- except for automobiles and encumbrances -- must be less than $25,000. Neither of the parties can have separate property assets that go beyond $25,000. Both sides will waive any right to receive spousal support. After the judgment has been entered, there will be no right to an appeal and they cannot get a new trial.

When a couple meets the necessary criteria, a summary dissolution is an economical and relatively easy way to end a marriage. If there are no outstanding financial or personal issues and the spouses would like to move forward as quickly and simply as possible, this is a viable alternative. As with any divorce case, before moving forward, it is always important to have a solid understanding of one's choices, so that informed decisions can be made.

Source: leginfo.legislature.ca.gov, "Chapter 5. Summary Dissolution -- 2400.," accessed on April 17, 2018

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