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What is a Joint Petition for a Divorce?


In California, as in other states, divorces no longer need to be based on “fault,” such as adultery or cruelty–either party can petition for divorce simply based on a breakdown of the marriage. Only one party needs to file; the other party cannot stop the divorce simply by disagreeing. However, there are advantages to filing for divorce together. Typically, even if both parties agree to file for divorce, one party will file the petition and the other will respond. In California, if both parties agree to all aspects of the divorce and certain other requirements are met, the parties can obtain a streamlined divorce that is much faster and cheaper than going through the full divorce process in court. Continue reading for a discussion of joint petitions for divorce in California, and contact an established Claremont divorce attorney for help with a family law matter in Southern California.

Joint Petition for a Summary Dissolution

A summary dissolution is a special court process for ending a divorce quickly and efficiently. If all the requirements are met, the court will simply grant the divorce without a hearing. Upon receiving a properly-executed joint petition for summary dissolution, the court will issue a judgment of dissolution of the marriage and notice of entry of judgment, with the date of divorce listed as six months after the date the parties filed. The court will either give the parties a judgment at the time of filing, or the parties will receive the judgment via mail at a later date.

Summary dissolution is not for every couple. The parties must file a joint petition together in court, meaning both parties sign on to the petition. The joint petition must be accompanied by a settlement agreement that completely and totally resolves all issues relating to the divorce–including alimony and the distribution of all assets and debts. Additionally, the parties must meet the following requirements:

  • The parties have been married for less than five years
  • At least one party has lived in California for at least six months prior to filing
  • The parties have no shared minor children and neither party is pregnant
  • Neither party owns real estate
  • Neither party rents real estate (other than the current residence)
  • The parties’ debts total no more than $6,000
  • The parties’ community property and each party’s separate property total no more than $47,000 each
  • The parties have disclosed all assets, debts, and other financial information to one another
  • The parties have signed all documents necessary to transfer assets and debts according to the settlement agreement
  • Neither party is seeking spousal support
  • The parties agree to divorce based on irreconcilable differences
  • The parties have read the summary dissolution information booklet

As the requirements demonstrate, summary dissolution is meant for couples with no kids, limited assets, and who have not been married for very long. Parties who satisfy these extensive requirements can obtain a quick and easy divorce without the need for court appearances, hearings, arguments, and other procedures. The parties can file with or without the help of an attorney, although to ensure that all processes and procedures are completed correctly and that each parties’ interests are fully represented and accounted for, it’s strongly recommended for each party to at least consult with an attorney before filing.
Call a seasoned California divorce lawyer at Blasser Law for help with divorce, alimony, annulment, custody disputes, child support, or any other California family law matter. The seasoned and trial-ready Claremont divorce legal team at Blasser Law is 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.

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