Is there such a thing as a simple divorce in California?

Yes. A simple divorce does not have to be an oxymoron, and it is called a summary dissolution. This is only an option for marriages or domestic partnerships that lasted no more than 5 years, have no kids, and where there are not many assets or debts to split up. The five years also applies to situations where domestic partnerships turned into marriages later on. A summary dissolution could end both relationships at once. A couple must meet all the following requirements to file for a summary dissolution:
  • There is a residency requirement, that one partner must have lived in California for the previous 6 months, and he or she must also have lived for the past 3 months in the county where they will be filing (same-sex couples excluded; if you moved out of the state, you can still file in California in the county of celebration).
  • This is a mutual desire to split up due to irreconcilable differences
  • There are no minor children, and none on the way (no pregnancy)
  • You were registered as domestic partners or married within the last 5 years
  • Neither of you own land or buildings
  • Neither of you have accrued more than $6,000 of debt after the start of the partnership or marriage (this does not count car payments though)
  • You have less than $38,000 in community property (assets and debts amassed during marriage)
  • Both of you have filled out and signed a property settlement agreement
  • You have both decided that there will be no spousal support
  • Both of you agreed that there will be no appeals once the summary dissolution is filed with the court
  • You must read the court-provided information, outlining the process for you: Summary Dissolution Information

If you satisfy all the above requirements, then you can take the following steps. Once you have read the "Summary Dissolution Information" (also called form FL-810), you can fill out the property settlement agreement. This will be an agreement you two reach about how to split up the community property. You can then file a Joint Petition for Summary Dissolution, along with a good deal of other paperwork. After this, there is a six-month wait, after which the court will end the marriage and/or domestic partnership, and the agreement is in force.

Within those six months of waiting though, one spouse or partner can file a Notice of Revocation for Summary Dissolution. This can be because one of you decides that there should be spousal support after all, and so you want a regular divorce. Of course, another reason for revoking a summary dissolution is reconciliation. After a summary dissolution is made final, you can still revoke it in cases of fraud, error, or some other wrong. You will need to make a motion to set aside the summary dissolution, and you will need to take this to the courts to establish.

An experienced divorce attorney would be invaluable to protecting your rights, whatever process you choose for a dissolution. You can find out if a simple divorce is in your best interests, or if you even qualify for one. You will also want to ensure that your agreements are legally binding, and that they also safeguard your best interests. If you need help revoking a summary dissolution, we can help you. Whatever your question or need in family law, a Mission Viejo divorce lawyer from our firm can assist you. We have more than a decade of experience and commitment to our clients. We could put this to work on your behalf, to help you move on in life and succeed. Do not hesitate to contact The Hunter Law Group today.