Find out if you qualify for summary dissolution

Check that you qualify before starting the process

summary dissolution is an easier way to get divorced or end a domestic partnership. It’s less expensive and there’s not as much paperwork as the standard divorce process. 

Not everyone can use this process. In general, it’s only for couples who: 

  • Have been married less than 5 years

  • Have no children together

  • Own or owe relatively little

  • Do not want spousal support

  • Agree on how to split any property

To use the process, all of these must be true. If even one isn’t true, you cannot use the summary dissolution process.

If you don't qualify, you will need to follow the standard divorce process.

You meet the residency requirement

For married couples or domestic partnerships not registered in California

One of you must have lived in California for the last 6 months and in the county where you file for summary dissolution for the last 3 months. 

You can wait until you meet the residency requirement, then start a summary dissolution if you still meet all the other requirements.

If you don't want to wait, you can file a legal separation. Then, when you meet the residency requirement, you can change it to a divorce. To do this, follow the standard divorce process.

Domestic partnerships registered in California 

You do not need to meet the residency requirement. You can end your partnership in California even if neither of you lives in California.

Same-sex couples who got married in California, but now live somewhere that will not end their marriage, can file for divorce in California. You must file in the county where you were married.

You have been married or partners for less than 5 years

It’s been less than five years from the date you married or registered your partnership to the day you split up (called your date of separation).

You do not have any children together

  • You do not have minor children (under 18) together, born to the two of you (before or after marriage) or adopted
  • Neither of you is pregnant

You do not own or lease real estate

You do not own or lease a house, land, or any other building.

There’s an exception if either of you rent the place you live in. You can use summary dissolution if you rent a home or apartment and your lease will end within a year of your filing for divorce.

Together you owe less than $7,000 

This just counts what you owe from when you married to the day you split up. Exclude any car loans in this count. 

You have less than $53,000 together and separately 

Property from during your marriage (community property)

  • The property you and your spouse own together is worth less than $53,000

  • Property is things like money (cash or in a bank) and items you own, like furniture

  • Do not count the value of any cars

  • You can use this worksheet to help you figure this out

Property from before you married (separate property)

  • You each have property worth less than $53,000 from before you married or after you separated

  • This also includes things you inherited or were a gift to just one of you

  • You can use this worksheet to help you figure this out

Don't forget about retirement accounts. 

Property includes your retirement plan, like a 401k or a pension. These can have a high value.  

You both agree to the terms of the divorce

You must both agree: 

  • That you want to end the marriage or domestic partnership

  • That neither of you will ever get spousal support

  • How you will split up any property and debts

This means that you will both sign an agreement saying you will not get support and that describes how you want things split (a property agreement)

Either spouse can change their mind and stop the summary dissolution. 

Either one of you can stop the summary dissolution during the 6 month period while waiting for the divorce to become final.
To end the process, you file a Notice of Revocation of Petition for Summary Dissolution (form FL-830) with the court. This notice invalidates (cancels) the summary dissolution case and the judgment. If you or your spouse still want to get divorced, you can file for a regular divorce.

Summary Dissolution

What's next?

If you qualify for summary dissolution, you can go to step-by-step instructions for this process.

If you're in a domestic partnership and you qualify for a summary dissolution, you can end your partnership through the Secretary of State at no cost. 

If you don't qualify because you don't meet one or more of the criteria listed above, you will need to follow the standard divorce process.

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