Health & Safety

October 26, 2012

Summary dissolution — faster procedure to California divorce

by Capt. Matthew Mackey
452 AMW assistant staff judge advocate

Nobody gets married with the intention of later getting divorced. Unfortunately, divorce is one of the most common reasons why airmen visit Legal Assistance. If you or your spouse is a resident of California (have lived in California for the last six months, and for at least three months in the county where you plan to file), provided certain conditions are met, you may be able to file for an expedited divorce using a simplified process called a summary dissolution. To qualify for this process, the following conditions must be met:

  • You have been married for less than five years.
  • You have no children.
  • You do not own any real estate.
  • You are not leasing any real estate, other than your current residence.
  • Between you and your spouse, there is no more than $6,000 in outstanding debts that were incurred since getting married (not including vehicle loans).
  • Between you and your spouse, you have not acquired more than $38,000 in personal property since getting married (not including vehicles).
  • Neither you nor your spouse have separate, personal property (property that was acquired before the marriage or as a gift or inheritance while married) worth more than $38,000 (not including vehicles).
  • Both you and your spouse agree that neither person will receive spousal support when the marriage ends.
  • Both you and your spouse have signed or are willing to sign an agreement which divides all property and debts.

The main advantages to a summary dissolution are shorter application packages and much shorter periods for approval. A judge or clerk of the court can consider the summary dissolution application immediately, without a hearing, compared to the standard divorce process, which cannot be considered for final approval until as least six months after the time of filing.

According to Major Deric Prescott, staff judge advocate, additional information about California divorces and the necessary forms (available as fillable PDFs) may be found at the California Courts Self-Help Website at: http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-divorce.htm

For more information, please contact your respective legal office:

For Category “A” Reservists: (951) 655-4454 – Located at 875 Adams Blvd., Bldg. 115

For Guard Members: (951) 655-2308 – Located at 1620 Graeber St. Bldg. 2270

For Active Duty Members: (951) 655-4479 – Located at 875 Adams Blvd., Bldg. 115




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