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What’s the Difference Between Dissolution and Divorce in CA

Couple with divorce contract and ring on desk. Divorce

Many of our family law clients in California have questions about the various terms used to describe the termination of marriage: divorce, dissolution of marriage, summary dissolution, annulment. Each of these terms refers to the end of a marriage, but how are they different? Read on to find out what these terms mean, and call a knowledgeable Claremont divorce attorney to discuss an impending divorce or other California family law matter.

Divorce and Dissolution Are the Same

To eliminate the initial confusion: In California, a divorce is legally called a “dissolution of marriage.” The term “divorce” historically refers to a fault-based termination of a marriage. California, like most other states, allows for a no-fault divorce. The term dissolution is meant to convey the equitable nature of modern divorce. For practical purposes, there is no distinction between “dissolution” and “divorce” in a California family law proceeding.

Summary Dissolution

When people ask about the term “dissolution,” they are likely thinking of “summary dissolution.” A summary dissolution is the quickest and most cost-effective way of obtaining a divorce in California. There is only one filing fee, far less paperwork, and the case will proceed to its conclusion much more quickly. There will still be a six-month waiting period, required before terminating any marriage, but the process will be much smoother.

Summary dissolution, however, is only available under very specific circumstances. To qualify for a summary dissolution, the following must be true:

  • Both parties agree to divorce due to “irreconcilable differences” and agree to a summary dissolution
  • The parties have no shared children under the age of 18, and neither party is pregnant
  • The parties have been married for less than five years
  • Neither spouse owns real property, and any lease must end within a year
  • The parties have $38,000 or less in community property, with some exemptions, and neither party has more than $38,000 in separate property
  • The parties have no disagreements on the distribution of community property or any other pertinent matter
  • The spouses waive their rights to spousal support, and to appeal the court’s final judgment
  • The parties satisfy the residency requirement

Talk to an experienced California divorce attorney to find out if you and your spouse are eligible for a summary dissolution and whether a summary dissolution would be in your best interests.
Call an experienced California family law attorney at Blasser Law for help with a separation, divorce, or other California family law issues. The dedicated and trial-ready Claremont divorce legal team at Blasser Law are ready to assist clients with any family law concerns in the San Gabriel Valley or Los Angeles County. Contact our family law office at 877-927-2181.

Blasser Law

445 West Foothill Blvd., Suite 108
Claremont, CA 91711




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