Cheap Divorce in California

In 1970, the California State Legislature revamped the entire divorce process. The system was changed from one of fault-finding of one or both of the parties, to a system of no-fault by either party. Now, spouses can get divorced if they simply no longer want to be married.

To make divorce even easier, California instilled a form of divorce called, “Summary Dissolution.”

Summary dissolution allows the parties in a short-term marriage with no minor children together and few other assets and/or debts to be divorced quickly and inexpensively.

Summary dissolution divorces have no formal court proceedings or appearances required, and a judgment of dissolution may be entered within six months after a filing of a joint petition.

To be eligible for summary dissolution in California, the parties:

  • Must have been married for less than five years;

  • Have no minor children together (including adoptees) from their relationship either before or during the marriage;

  • Must have lived in California for the six months immediately preceding the filing;

  • Must have lived in the county where they’re petitioning for summary dissolution for the three months immediately preceding the filing;

  • Must have no real property interests (such as housing, land or building interests) except short-term residential leases;

  • Must have acquired less than $6,000 in debts from the date of marriage (without including motor vehicle loans);

  • Must have acquired less than $40,000 in assets from the date of marriage (not including motor vehicles);

  • Must have separate property assets of less than $40,000 in value (not including motor vehicles);

  • Both spouses must agree not to request or receive spousal support from the other spouse;

  • And both spouses must have signed an agreement dividing the property assets and debts, including motor vehicles.

There are some exceptions to these requirements and the dollar values of the assets, debts and motor vehicles change periodically. Therefore, even if possible to file for summary dissolution on their own, it is recommended that the parties consult with a family law specialist to ensure compliance with the law. Failure to properly comply will mean the parties are not divorced and are not free to remarry.

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