Summary Dissolution for Married Couples in 2020

Summary dissolution is a type of divorce in California for people with no real property, limited value community property (not including vehicles), limited value separate property (not including vehicles), no children between them under 18 by birth or adoption, small community debt, and who have been married for less than five years.

Every few years the state legislature updates the requirements for summary dissolution, usually increasing the amount of property value and the amount of community debt.  However, it has never changed how the long the marriage (or domestic partnership) has lasted, nor whether the couple has children.

This year, only property values been increased, but both parties wanting to divorce must read and sign a document stating that they have read Form FL 810.  The amount of debt accrued during the marriage has not changed ($6000.00) The process also includes information regarding same-sex couples that married in California, moved, but whose marital status is not recognized by their new state.

To qualify for a summary dissolution in California, according to the California Courts website you and your spouse:

  • Have been married for less than 5 years (from the date you got married to the date you separated);
  • Have no children together born or adopted before or during the marriage (and you are not expecting a new child now);
  • Do not own any part of land or buildings;
  • Do not rent any land or buildings (except for where you now live, as long as you do not have a 1-year lease or option to buy);
  • Do not owe more than $6,000 for debts acquired since the date you got married;
  • Have less than $45,000 worth of property acquired during the marriage; (Do not count your motor vehicles.)
  • Do not have separate property worth more than $45,000; (Do not count your motor vehicles)
  • Agree that neither spouse will ever get spousal support; AND
  • Have signed an agreement that divides your property (including your motor vehicles) and debts.

In addition, if you are married, either you or your spouse must have lived in California for the last six (6) months and in the county where you file for summary dissolution for the last three (3) months. If you do not meet the residency requirement, you can still file for a legal separation but you have to go through the regular legal separation process, or wait until you meet the residency requirements for a divorce.

EXCEPTION: Same-sex married couples who got married in California but do not live in California and live in a state (or states) that will not dissolve a same-sex marriage, can file to end their same-sex marriage in California, regardless of these residency requirements. You must file in whichever county you were married. If this is your situation, talk to a lawyer with experience in same-sex marriage laws.

For further information, contact your county’s local bar association or court.  Or, log on to the California Courts’ website at

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