Do it Yourself Divorce: Summary Dissolution Procedure

California Summary Dissolution

Summary dissolution is a simplified process for obtaining a divorce available to couples who meet the requirements. The following is a general step-by-step guide to a California Summary Dissolution. Contact an attorney for more information on requirements and how to fill out summary dissolution forms.

Step 1: Requirements – Can I file for summary dissolution?

CA Summary Dissolution is an easy and inexpensive way to divorce but is only available to persons who meet all the family law requirements listed below:

  • At least one spouse has lived in California for the last six months and in the county where you plan to file for the last three months.
  • Married less than five years from the date you file your Joint Petition for Summary Dissolution of Marriage.
  • Have no children that were adopted or born before or during the marriage and the wife is currently not pregnant.
  • Do not own or have an interest in any real estate (including a lease of one year or more)
  • Do not owe more than $6,000 for debts acquired since the date of your marriage (ignore loans for autos).
  • Have less than $38,000 worth of property acquired during the marriage (usually equity only).
  • Do not have separate property worth more than $38,000 (exclude home mortgages and auto loans).
  • Agree that neither spouse will get spousal support.
  • Current required values for property change frequently as they are indexed for inflation. CHECK Family Law Form FL-810 for complete verification.
  • The parties have a signed agreement dividing all their assets and debts and have signed all other documents necessary to transfer title of assets according to the agreement.

If you DO NOT qualify for summary dissolution, learn the steps to uncontested and contested divorce.

Follow the steps below to complete a “do it yourself” summary dissolution:

Step 2: Filling out the divorce paperwork

Verify that you qualify for a CA Summary Dissolution by checking FL-810.

Sign along with your spouse a marriage settlement agreement.

Fill out and file the Joint Petition of Summary Dissolution of Marriage (FL-800).

Fill out any required by your county. Call the California county court clerk to find if any local forms are required.

Step 3: Copy the forms

Bring the original forms and two copies and file them with the court. Pay the filing fee (around $350 depending on the court) or apply for a waiver if you qualify.

Step 4: Obtaining a judgment

Wait 6 months after filing for divorce. File the Request for Judgment, Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage, and Notice of Entry of Judgment. FL-820.

If you or your spouse decide to get back together or cancel the Summary Judgment and use a standard divorce, then you must file a Notice of Revocation of Petition for Summary Dissolution. FL-830.

FAQ

What is the difference between a summary dissolution and a standard divorce?

Aside from the requirements stated above, a summary dissolution must be filed jointly which requires the cooperation of both spouses. In addition, the summary dissolution only provides orders for property division and restoring of a former name.

Do I need an attorney for a summary dissolution?

Attorneys play a smaller role in a summary dissolution than a standard divorce. Many parties initially consult with an attorney to determine eligibility for a summary dissolution and to draft the marital property settlement, then proceed without an attorney.