The one major exception to the standard divorce procedure described in our previous blog, The Divorce Process, is the “Summary Dissolution.” A Summary Dissolution is a special procedural pathway to divorce allowing a limited population of married couples to (1) stay out of court hearings and (2) have their divorce finalized at six months from date of filing for the divorce.

A Summary Dissolution might be right for a married couple if they:

  • Have no children together and neither party is pregnant;
  • Have been married five years or less (length of time between date of marriage and date of separation);
  • Do not own very much, and do not own land or buildings;
  • Do not owe very much in community debt (equal to or less than $6,000);
  •  Do not want spousal or partner support from each other; and
  • Have no disagreements about how their belongings and their debts are going to be divided up once they are no longer married to each other.

Please contact your attorney to determine if Summary Dissolution is appropriate under the circumstances of your divorce and for help preparing the appropriate forms and a property settlement agreement. Each individual situation requires an assessment based on the specific facts and circumstances involved. [Disclaimer]

An important and critical difference between regular divorce and Summary Dissolution is there is no trial or hearing in Summary Dissolution, and neither spouse has the right to ask for a new trial or the right to appeal the Judgment in their case. However, there are four potential situations where the court may set aside this type of divorce, all of which can be avoided with the assistance of your attorney. These four situations include:  (1) being treated unfairly in the property settlement agreement; (2) going through the dissolution procedure against your will; (3) serious mistakes being present in the original agreement; and (4) neither spouse complied with the preliminary disclosure requirements before signing the property settlement agreement.

Additional information on this process is available at http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-summarydissolution.htm.

Our family law team at Naimish & Lewis can advise you on this and other dissolution and divorce related matters. To schedule an initial consultation with an attorney at our firm, please contact us.