In California, couples may pursue divorce through the courts or through mediation. These options give couples the opportunity to separate their lives with the help of judges, lawyers and, in some cases, mediators. There is another way that a couple may end its marriage, and that way is through summary dissolution. However, not all couples qualify for summary dissolution and it can have some drawbacks.
First, there are a number of requirements a couple must meet to seek out summary dissolution. The couple cannot have been married for more than five years and cannot have or be expecting any children together. The partners cannot own real property together and neither can plan to receive spousal support after the divorce. They cannot have acquired substantial wealth together that could be classified as community property and, conversely, they may not carry substantial combined debts.
These are only a few of the many requirements that couples must meet to pursue a summary dissolution of a marriage. If a couple satisfies this extensive list, then the couple must file a number of documents with the appropriate court in order to move forward. The partners must file a joint petition and documents that describe how they will divide their property. They must complete a judgment form and ensure that they have completed all of the administrative steps of the process.
Only a small subset of married people can pursue summary dissolution, and even those who can may find the many steps involved confusing. It can be important to understand the legal ramifications of divorce-related decisions. Although the state offers several different ways in which its residents may pursue divorce, not all will fit the needs of every couple that wishes to bring about the end of a marriage.