What You Need to Know About Summary Dissolution of Marriage in California
There’s a simpler way for spouses to end their marriage. Here’s what you need to know about the summary dissolution of marriage in California.
What Is a Summary Dissolution of Marriage in California?
A summary dissolution of marriage is a simpler way for couples to end their marriage. In most summary dissolutions, spouses do not need to appear in front of a judge. However, only certain couples can be eligible for a summary dissolution of marriage in California.
Requirements for Summary Dissolution of Marriage in California
Spouses must meet ALL of the following requirements in order to be eligible for a summary dissolution of marriage in California:
- Their marriage lasted less than five years
- They don’t have children together
- Neither spouse owns land or buildings
- Have not acquired more than $6,000 in marital debts
- Do not own more than $45,000 in community property (cars don’t count)
- Do not own more than $45,000 in separate property (cars don’t count)
- Spouses agree to never get alimony/spousal support
- Have an agreement that separates assets
- Either spouse has lived in California for at least 6 months
- Either spouse has lived for at least 3 months in the county in which the summary dissolution of marriage will be filed
If spouses meet all of these requirements, a California judge may grant their request for a summary dissolution of marriage. Consider starting your divorce if at least one of these requirements is not met. If you think you are eligible for a summary dissolution in California, read below.
How to Get a Summary Dissolution of Marriage in California
1. Read the Summary Dissolution Information Booklet
You must read the Summary Dissolution Information (Form FL-810) booklet. This required booklet will help you throughout your case. You must declare under penalty of perjury that you have read this booklet in its entirety.
2. Find the Right Court
Depending on the city and county in which you and your spouse currently live, make sure you’re filing the documents at the right court. Click here to find out which court you should go to.
3. Fill Out Joint Petition for Summary Dissolution
Both spouses must fill out and sign a Joint Petition for Summary Dissolution (Form FL-800), along with any other forms your local court requires.
4. Complete Judgment Form
Both spouses must complete the caption box (top portion) of a Judgment of Dissolution and Notice of Entry of Judgment (Form FL-825).
5. Exchange Financial Information
Financial disclosures are a necessary step of the summary dissolution process in California. Spouses must complete and exchange:
- Income and Expense Declaration (Form FL-150)
Then both spouses must fill out either these worksheets from the booklet:
- Determining Value and Division of Community Property AND
- Determining Value of Separate Property AND
- Determining Community Obligations and Their Division
- Declaration of Disclosure (Form FL-140) AND
- Schedule of Assets and Debts (Form FL-142) OR
- Property Declaration (Form FL-160)
Both spouses must exchange:
- Tax returns for the last two years
- Written disclosures of businesses, investments, or other sources of income that have come about before or after your separation
6. Fill Out Property Agreement
A lawyer can help you draft a property agreement that clearly divides you and your spouse’s assets. If neither you nor your spouse have property that must be divided, draft an agreement that says so. Attach this document to your Joint Petition (Form FL-810).
7. Have An Attorney Review the Forms
It’s very important that these documents are properly completed, so have an attorney review the forms before you file them. You can hire an affordable attorney through “limited scope representation” that will look at these documents at a low, fixed rate. One of our family law attorneys can help you.
Make two copies of each form and document you’ve completed; one copied set will be for you, and the other will be for your spouse. The original set will be kept by the court once you file it.
8. File The Forms
File the necessary forms with your local court clerk. The clerk will stamp the forms “Filed”, then hand you back the copied sets and keep the originals. You and your spouse will need to pay a “first papers” filing fee. The clerk will either file and hand you copies of the Form FL-825, or mail it to you at a later date. Make sure to ask the court clerk whether they’ll hand or mail the copies to you.
9. Obtain Your Judgment of Dissolution
The Judgment of Dissolution and Notice of Entry of Judgment (Form FL-825) is your divorce judgment. Once you receive this signed document (either in person or by mail), that means your divorce has been finalized. The date on it (6 months after you started your case) signifies the date your divorce has been finalized. You cannot remarry until after this date has passed because you are technically still married.
FAQs About Summary Dissolution of Marriage in California
What forms do you need to file a summary dissolution in California?
To file a summary dissolution in California, you need to fill out and file a Joint Petition for Summary Dissolution (Form FL-800) and Judgment of Dissolution and Notice of Entry of Judgment (Form FL-825).
How long does a summary dissolution take in California?
In California, summary dissolutions have a six-month waiting period. Your summary dissolution of marriage will be finalized six months after you filed the petition.
What is the waiting period for summary dissolutions in California?
The waiting period for summary dissolutions in California. This means that your summary dissolution will take at least six months to process. You will need to wait six months after the date you filed the initial divorce petition until your divorce is finalized.
Free Consultation With a Family Law Attorney in California
If you want a summary dissolution of marriage in California and need legal help, contact us. We’ll get you in touch with the most qualified lawyer for your unique legal matter. Get your free consultation with one of our family law attorneys in California today!