We have all heard the horror stories: “my divorce lasted longer than my marriage” or “it dragged out for years.” Thankfully, if you have minimal assets and are searching for ways to streamline your divorce process you have a few options. One way to expedite the process is to proceed by summary dissolution. Summary dissolution has the same effect as a divorce, but has several benefits that a “regular” divorce does not. Notably, it’s a quick(er) and eas(ier)y process. Oftentimes, you do not even need to appear before a Judge.
If you meet the following 9 criteria, you and your soon to be ex-spouse, should consider filing for summary dissolution.
- Have been married for less than 5 years (from the date you got married to the date you separated);
- Have no children together born or adopted before or during the marriage (and you are not expecting a new child now);
- Do not own any part of land or buildings;
- Do not rent any land or buildings (except for where you now live with limited exceptions);
- Do not owe more than $6,000 for debts acquired since the date you got married (calling “community obligations”)*;
- Have less than $40,000 worth of property acquired since the date you got married (called “community property”)*;
- Do not have separate property worth more than $40,000;
- Agree that neither spouse will ever get spousal support; and
- Have signed an agreement that divides your property and debts.
*There are some exceptions to the calculation.
If you need help determining if you qualify or need assistance in reaching/preparing an agreement that divides your property, consider meeting with a Certified Family Law Specialist, even if only for a consultation. Alternatively, if you have already prepared your summary dissolution, consider contacting an attorney to do a final review of the documents prior to submitting for filing. This can help having your documents rejected and ensure faster resolution. Good luck!
LGBTQ note: The summary dissolution process can dissolve your domestic partnership as well or if you are both married and domestic partnered, can dissolve both.
Check out next month’s blog for our second segment on how to streamline your divorce.