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A summary dissolution is an easy way for married couples or registered domestic partners to legally end their marriage quickly. A summary dissolution is the same thing as a divorce, but it takes much less time and requires much less paperwork. If you and your spouse are looking for a fast resolution to your marriage, The Law Office of Michael R. Young can help.Call (909) 315-4588 now!
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We hope you benefit from our guide to Summary Dissolution!
How to Use This Guide
It is important to note that not everyone qualifies for a summary dissolution, and most couples looking to end their marriage and / or domestic partnership will need a traditional divorce. With that said, this guide will help you determine your eligibility for a summary dissolution, and how to obtain one.
This guide is divided into three sections:
- Part 1: Summary Dissolutions for Married Couples
- Part 2: Summary Dissolutions for Registered Domestic Partners (Unmarried)
- Part 3: Summary Dissolutions for Same-Sex Couples Who Are Married & Domestic Partners
While our guide is as comprehensive and accurate as possible, no two legal or marital situations are the same. If you have a unique issue or specific questions regarding your situation, call our firm today..
Either you or your spouse will have to pay the fee for filing for summary dissolution. If you cannot pay for it, you can ask for a fee waiver. If one spouse qualifies for a fee waiver but the other does not, the one who does not qualify will need to pay for filing. If you are unmarried and want to dissolve your domestic partnership, there is no fee for the process. More info can be found on the California Courts website.
Qualifying for Summary Dissolution
You must meet the following requirements to be eligible for summary dissolution. If you do not meet the residency requirements, you have two options: file for a regular legal separation or wait until you fulfill the residency requirements. For unmarried domestic partners, there is no requirement. Theoretically, you can terminate a domestic partnership in California even if neither of you currently live there.
You and your partner or spouse are eligible if you:
- Have been married / in partnership for less than 5 years
- Haven’t any children
- Own no real estate
- Rent no land or structures (except for residences, barring a lease or buying option)
- Owe less than $6,000 for debts acquired while married (except car loans)
- Acquired less than $41,000 worth of property while married (except car loans)
- Have separate property worth less than $41,000 (except car loans)
- Mutually agreed to forgo any right to alimony
- Signed a property division agreement (including vehicles)
For married couples, there is also a residency requirement for summary dissolution:
- You must have lived in California for the prior six months
- You must have lived in the county where you filed for the prior three months
If you meet each requirement for summary dissolution, you can proceed with filing.
1) Read the Summary Dissolution Information booklet.
2) Find the court that serves you or your spouse’s current residence.
The CA Court website can help you find where to file.
3) Fill out the following forms:
Joint Petition for Summary Dissolution
- Add your property agreement as an attachment to this form. You can create your own or use this fillable property agreement. It must be signed and dated by each of you. If you do not have anything to divide, write an agreement saying so; each of you sign and date it.
- Fill out the top portion of the Judgment of Dissolution and Notice of Entry of Judgment.
- You and your spouse have to complete the following financial forms:
Lastly, as part of your financial information exchange, you and your spouse MUST exchange:
- All tax returns you filed in the last 2 years, AND
- Lists of any investments, businesses, or other income-producing opportunities you’ve had since separating if you brought up or made those investments before separation.
5) Make at least 2 copies of your forms.
Copies are for you and your spouse; the original is for the court.
6) File your forms with the court.
- Turn in your Joint Petition and Judgement of Dissolution form (including your copies) to the clerk.
- Include 2 addressed envelopes, one for you and your spouse.
7) You’ll get the Judgment of Dissolution and Notice of Entry of Judgment either in the mail or immediately after filing. It will include a date on Item 1(a).
That date is 6 months after you first filed your case, and it is the date your divorce is final.
You cannot get remarried until after that date.
Registered Domestic Partners (Unmarried)
If you meet ALL of the requirements above to file for summary dissolution, then take these next steps:
1) Read the California Secretary of State’s brochure on ending domestic partnerships.
Read it here: Terminating a California Registered Domestic Partnership.
2) Fill out your Notice of Termination.
You must both sign and your signatures must be notarized.
3) Write your property agreement.
You can write your own agreement or use a fillable property agreement from the court. If you do not have any property or debt to divide, write an agreement saying so. Each of you should sign and date it.
5) Then, make at least two copies of your forms (including your property agreement).
6) Mail all forms, including the property agreement, to the CA Secretary of State.
Send the signed and notarized original of your Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership to:
Secretary of State
Domestic Partners Registry
P.O. Box 942877
Sacramento, CA 94277-0001
It can also be dropped off at the Sacramento office or the regional Los Angeles office.
Regarding fees, this process costs nothing.
7) After six months, your domestic partnership will be considered over.
If your partner files and sends you a Revocation of Termination of Domestic Partnership, but you still want to get a divorce, you will not be able to get that divorce by summary dissolution.
Couples in Both Same-Sex Marriage & Domestic Partnership
This section is for same-sex couples who:
- Are both married and registered domestic partners;
- Want to end both their marriage and domestic partnership at the same time; and
- Qualify for a summary dissolution for BOTH the marriage and domestic partnership.
Steps to Summary Dissolution
1) Read Summary Dissolution Information (a booklet from the California court).
2) Find the court that serves the area where you live.
The CA Court website can help you figure out where to file for your summary dissolution.
3) Fill out the following forms:
Both you and your spouse/partner must sign a
Joint Petition for Summary Dissolution.
- Add your property agreement as well.
- If you don’t have property or debts, you must both sign and date an agreement saying so.
- Fill out the top portion of the Judgment of Dissolution and Notice of Entry of Judgment
- You and your spouse/partner need to fill out and exchange the following financial forms:
Lastly, as part of your financial information exchange, you and your spouse/partner MUST exchange:
- All tax returns you filed in the last two years, AND
- Lists of all investments, businesses, or other income-producing opportunities you have had after you separated—if those they were made or came up before separating.
5) Make two copies of all forms (including your property agreement).
6) File your forms with the court clerk.
Turn in your Joint Petition and Judgement of Dissolution form (including both copies of each form) to the court clerk. Also include two envelopes, one addressed to you and your partner.
7) The Judgment of Dissolution and Notice of Entry of Judgment (Form FL-825) is your divorce judgment. The date six months after you first filed your case is when your divorce is final. You cannot get remarried or register a domestic partnership until after that date.
Need Help? Contact Our San Bernardino Divorce Attorneys.
If the above process seems like a lot to handle, that’s because it is. Fees are rarely refundable when it comes to California government, so a single filing mistake can be both costly and stressful. Remember that at any point, our San Bernardino divorce lawyers are ready and willing to help you smooth out the summary dissolution process, filing papers on your behalf while protecting your rights.
Call (909) 315-4588 to see how we can help resolve your marriage’s conclusion.
Note for Married Couples: If you realize that you do not want to get a summary dissolution during the six-month wait for your divorce to become final, file a Notice of Revocation of Petition for Summary Dissolution. It invalidates the summary dissolution case.
Note for Unmarried Couples: If either one of you decides that you do not want to end your domestic partnership within the 6-month window after filing, you must file a Revocation of Termination of Domestic Partnership with the Secretary of State. If you do this, you must send a copy of the revocation form to your partner by first-class mail. There is no fee.
- Thinking about filing for divorce
- Concerned about custody of your children
- Worried about the division of your property
What is a contested divorce
When spouses don’t agree on an issue, whether it involves child custody or spousal support, a divorce is considered contested. It is the most complicated type of divorce, as a couple will need to go through numerous steps to finalize their divorce. Since contested divorces often go to divorce court with a judge, having legal representation during the trial is crucial.
How is spousal support or alimony calculated
There are numerous factors considered when a judge is determining how much and how long alimony should be paid. Some of those factors include the earning capacity of each spouse, how long the marriage lasted, the standard of living during the marriage, each spouse’s health and age, marital debts and property, and the sacrifices each spouse made during the marriage (such as staying at home with the children so the other spouse could work).
Who pays child support and how is child support determined
The noncustodial parent will be responsible for child support if the court determines it is necessary or parents come to an agreement to be approved by the court. The factors used to determined child support include the income / earning capacity of each parent, the number of children shared, each parent’s expenses, child care expenses, and other related issues.
How is property divided
California is a community property state. That means each spouse is given 50% ownership of the property accumulated during the marriage. This can include homes, vehicles, art, checking accounts, retirement / pension funds, small businesses, and other valuables. Items, accounts, or valuables that were kept separate throughout the entire marriage may be considered separate property and are therefore not subject to property division laws.
How long does it take for a divorce to be final
This can depend on a number of factors, such as whether it is a contested or uncontested divorce. Even if a divorce is uncontested, there is a six-month waiting period in California for the judge to grant a divorce. Likewise, those seeking contested divorces must wait six months for a trial to be ordered. How quickly a divorce is finalized will also depend heavily on how easily spouses agree on matters such as child support, property division, alimony, child custody, and other important matters.
Why should I hire a family law and divorce attorney
Going through a divorce or family law dispute can be complicated, confusing, and emotional. Regardless of whether spouses or family members think they are on the same page, having an attorney who is looking out for the best interests of the client can be invaluable. When you hire an attorney, you can have peace of mind knowing your rights and interests will be protected throughout the process. It can also take a great burden off your shoulders during a volatile or emotionally challenging time.
With more than 40 years of combined experience, our divorce and family lawyers are compassionate, caring professionals.
e understand how challenging family law disputes can be, whether involving a heated child custody battle or a complex divorce. As a firm with an AV Preeminent® rating and a 10.0 Superb Avvo rating, we are committed to maintaining a standard of excellence in our representation. Why? Because we know that your family and your future is on the line. When you retain us, you are getting understanding, knowledgeable advocates on your side.
With over four decades of collective insight, we are well-versed on handling even the most complex family law issues in California, from grandparents’ rights to domestic violence and restraining orders. When you need a compassionate family law attorney that you can trust to have your best interests in mind every step of the way, turn to our firm.
Our legal team strives to secure a favorable resolution as quickly as possible—whether in or out of court. Call us now at (909) 315-4588 to schedule your free consult.
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