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Summary Dissolution May Be an Alternative to Divorce for Some

One thing some married couples in California who are constantly fighting can actually agree on is that they want to end their marriage. However, they may be discouraged in thinking that divorce is a lengthy process that will cost them a lot, financially and emotionally. They may wonder if there are any alternatives. While most couples in California seeking to end their marriage will have to go through the normal divorce process, it may be possible in certain situations to end a marriage through a "summary dissolution."

There are certain requirements that must be met for a couple to obtain a summary dissolution. First, the marriage must have lasted for less than five years (spanning from the date of the marriage to the date of separation.) The couple must not have any biological or adopted children together, either prior to the marriage or while married. In addition, the couple cannot be pregnant. The couple cannot own land or a building. The couple cannot rent any land or buildings other than their residence and then only if they do not have a one-year lease or option to buy.

In addition, the couple cannot have over $6,000 in debts obtained since the date of their marriage. Auto loans will not be included in this calculation. Also, the couple cannot have more than $41,000 worth of assets obtained while married. An automobile is not counted in this calculation. In addition, a couple cannot have more than $41,000 of separate assets, not counting automobiles. The spouses must agree that they will never receive spousal support. Finally, the couple must have a signed agreement regarding the division of their assets and debts.

Finally, if the couple is married, one spouse or the other must have resided in the state for the previous six months and in the county in which they are pursuing summary dissolution for the previous three months. Couples who do not qualify under these residency requirements can choose to pursue a legal separation (which does not end their marriage), or they can wait until they meet the necessary residency requirements to seek a divorce.

As this shows, some couples meet the requirement to seek a summary dissolution as an alternative to a traditional divorce. However, any couple looking to end their marriage may want to discuss their personal situation with a legal professional, who can help them determine what options to pursue.