California allows married couples, under certain conditions, to file for a Summary Dissolution of Marriage which is also referred to as a simplified or special dissolution of marriage or uncontested divorce. Remember, even a simple divorce can become complicated should there be an incident of domestic violence.
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A summary dissolution is a shorter and easier way than a regular dissolution to end a marriage. A summary dissolution can only be used by couples who meet very specific conditions.
Summary Dissolution Qualifications
To qualify for Summary Dissolution, the married couple must meet the following requirements:
- The marriage must have been for 5 years or less.
- Have no children born to them before or during the marriage and not be expecting a newborn.
- Neither party has natural or adopted children.
- Neither party has an interest in real estate or a commercial building lease.
- The value of the community property does not exceed $40,000; excluding vehicles and car loans.
- The value of the debts resulting from the marriage is less than $5,000; excluding vehicles and car loans.
- Both parties have entered into a written agreement that addresses the division of all property and debts.
- Both parties have signed a Joint Petition for Summary Dissolution of Marriage.
- Once filed, there is a 6 months waiting period, after which, either party will then file a Request for Judgment, Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage and Notice of Judgment.
In those cases where the parties decide not to get divorced, this action can be stopped by filing a Notice of Revocation of Petition for Summary Dissolution.
Request to Enter a Default. Judgment for the petitioner when the respondent has been served fails to respond within 30 days or when the respondent cannot be located.
If a spouse does not respond in 30 days, the petitioner may file a Request to Enter a Default, which bars the respondent from further entering into his or her own divorce case.
Pleadings and Forms Used for Summary Dissolution
- Declaration for Default or Uncontested Dissolution or Legal Separation: A judgment for one spouse when the other spouse fails to file a response or both parties have reached an agreement agree on all issues.
- Declaration Regarding Service of Declaration of Disclosure: A petition submitted by both spouses identifying the property they own. This declaration classifies separate and community property, the value of each asset and the debts each party has incurred before and during the marriage.
- Income and Expense Declaration: A disclosure of each party’s source of income and their expenses.
- Schedule of Assets and Debts: A form that lists all property owned by both parties. Identifies separate and community assets and debts, and each party’s interest.
- Wage and Earnings Assignment Order for Spousal Support. This is notice to the paying party’s employer of the requirement to withhold payment for spousal support.
- Order/Notice to Withhold Income for Child Support: This is notice to the paying party’s employer of the requirement to withhold child support.
- Stipulation to Establish or Modify Child Support and Order: This is the form used by parents to establish or modify the terms of child support paid by the noncustodial to the custodial parent.
- Marital Settlement Agreement: This is an agreement that established the terms and conditions of the division and distribution of community property and spousal support.
- Service by Publication: A process to satisfy notice of service for a party who cannot located after a good faith effort has been undertaken to do so. The good faith or diligence required involves checking telephone directories, US Postal Service, tax records, department of motor vehicles, voter registration, and family and friends. Once done, the petitioner must file an Ex Parte Application for Publication of Summons; Declaration in Support Thereof; Memorandum of Points and Authorities; and, an Order for Publication of Summons. Once approved, the summons can be published in a newspaper and must be done once a week for four successive weeks, with a least five days between successive publications.
- Order to Show Cause: A petition requesting a court to rule on temporary support, child custody and restraining orders.
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