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Is a summary dissolution the same as a divorce?

Sometimes, couples headed for divorce decide that remaining married to each other simply unbearable. Many unhappy couples approach their attorneys wanting to dissolve their marriages as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the California Legislature has placed a six-month "cooling-down" requirement for all divorces. The state recognizes that some couples will reconcile after being initially served with divorce papers.

However, if both sides are in total agreement with regards to the divorce and meet certain criteria, they may be able to file a summary dissolution. The following are some of the more notable requirements of the summary dissolution:

-- The marriage must be less than five years old.

-- You must not have any children together. This includes adopted children before or during the marriage.

-- You must not own any land or buildings.

-- You must not rent any land or buildings except for you currently live. The exception is if you have a one-year lease or option to buy.

-- You do not owe more than $6,000 worth of debt acquired since you married. Car loans are exempted in this amount.

-- You have less than $38,000 worth of property that you acquired during the marriage. This sum excludes cars.

-- You agree that neither spouse will be awarded spousal support.

-- Both of you have signed an agreement that divides your property, vehicles and debts.

It is important to know that these requirements are conjunctive, meaning you and your spouse must meet all of them in order to qualify for a summary dissolution. Additionally, both parties must have resided in California for six months and in the county in which you plan to file for a period of three months.

The decision to enter into any summary dissolution should not be taken lightly. It would be wise to consult with your attorney prior to embarking in this life-altering decision.

Source: California Courts-The judicial branch of California, "For Married Couples- Do you qualify for a summary dissolution?" Sep. 03, 2014

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