Categories
Spousal Support

2024 Modifying Spousal Support

Modifying Spousal Support

In the future, your spousal support order may no longer be right because of some kind of life change. If it’s a material change of circumstances, you can change the spousal support order, called a modification. A material change of circumstance requires a significant change that was not present when the original support order was made. Some examples of a material change might be a disability, unemployment, retirement, significant change of income, or if the supported party cohabitates with a romantic partner. But, without a material change of circumstance, spousal support cannot be modified. This is to protect the spouses from constantly re-negotiating spousal support. Not liking the order is not a material change.

You can waive this protection. If you don’t have a material change, but you both agree to modify support, you can modify it with a written agreement, which waives the material change requirement. This doesn’t happen often. Most of the time, one spouse will want to keep the original order and will not waive the material change requirement.

If you have reached an agreement to modify with your spouse, use “Spousal, Partner or Family Support Order Attachment,” FL-343, and follow the instructions in “Obtaining Temporary Orders”. Otherwise, if you have a material change and no agreement, you can file a request with the court using the Request for Order, FL-300 with FL-343, and follow the instructions in Obtaining Temporary Orders as well.

If you are unsure if there has been a material change, just as with child support, you can request a completed Income and Expense Declaration, FL-150, from your spouse, once a year, while support is being paid. You can review it to see if there have been any changes. If your spouse requests one from you, make sure to complete it fully. If you do not, your spouse can request the information from your employer and you can be sanctioned by the court.

At TheCompleteDivorce, we provide you with what you need to successfully do your California divorce on your own. We provide all the required family law court forms in our automated forms program, all the video tutorials, and an automated customizable Marital Settlement Agreement (Divorce Agreement). If you need more help, you can get our package which includes time with a divorce mediator.

Before you go, consider if we can help you. We have helped thousands of couples in California. Our guided DIY divorce is successful and super affordable! Our services are all 5-star!

Categories
Spousal Support

2024 Creating a Detailed Spousal Support Agreement

Creating a Detailed Spousal Support Agreement

When you include permanent support in your agreement, you want to include the amount, when it starts, what days in the month it will be paid, and if agreed, when it will end. You can also add more to the agreement, such as when a spouse needs to start looking for a job, or when either person can retire early. The more comprehensive your agreement, the more opportunities you have to make a fair agreement and have fewer disagreements in the future. In our sample MSA, we have provided an example.

You might also include step-downs in your divorce agreement. An agreed timeframe of when spousal support will be reduced to the new amount. You might decide that these step-downs should be included because one of the 4320 factors is the duty of the supported spouse to become self-supporting. In a short-term marriage, the supported party is given half the length of the marriage to be self-supporting. There’s no rule of thumb for long-term marriages. As for the judge, I believe she would take note of whether it’s been half the time of the marriage, and would weigh the spouse’s efforts to be self-supporting against other issues like the spouse’s health and age, the age of the children at home, and if there are children with special needs.

If you are the supporting spouse, it’s a good idea to discuss with your spouse what he or she will do to become self-supporting. Use this conversation as a time to set realistic expectations between you. You might agree that support will be higher while the spouse goes back to school, or gets job training, and after that time, support automatically steps down to account for the spouse’s ability to work. If you do agree on a course of action, include it in your divorce

agreement. And be fully aware of what you are agreeing to; that it’s right for you in the context of your case.

At TheCompleteDivorce, we provide you with what you need to successfully do your California divorce on your own. We provide all the required family law court forms in our automated forms program, all the video tutorials, and an automated customizable Marital Settlement Agreement (Divorce Agreement). If you need more help, you can get our package which includes time with a divorce mediator.

Before you go, consider if we can help you. We have helped thousands of couples in California. Our guided DIY divorce is successful and super affordable! Our services are all 5-star!

Categories
Property Division (Community & Separate)

Community property states| What it is and how it works?

What is Community Property in Ca Divorce?

In divorce, how assets and debts are divided is subject to a number of laws. Assets being what you own and debts are what you owe. Since laws are the same for assets and debts, I’ll refer to both collectively as property.

How property is divided depends on its character. There are two types of character, separate property, and community property. Separate property belongs to one spouse, and community property belongs to both. Whether the property is separate or community mostly depends on when you got it. If you received property before you got married or after your date of separation, it is your separate property. This includes the money you earn after you separated, although you may be required to pay support based on your earnings after you separate. Gifts or inheritance is separate property even if received while married. And any increases to the value of a separate property during the marriage, including any appreciation, profits, or rental income, is considered separate property, even though the increased value occurred during the marriage.

All other property received during the marriage is community property and divided equally between the spouses. This includes the salary you earned while you were married because California views marriage as a partnership. If you saved your salary or used it to make a purchase, your savings and what you purchased with your salary are community property too.

In the rare situation that you have less than $5,000 in community property and you cannot locate your spouse, the court has the power to award all of the community property to you.

?brizy media=wp 79009847c95f26f651e835dd0351d31b

Otherwise, unless you have another agreement with your spouse, like a prenup, these property laws apply to you. You can agree not to follow them, but if doing so favors one of you more than the other, the spouse getting a bad deal will have an incentive to go to court or not sign the divorce agreement. It’s better to negotiate with an understanding of the property laws, so you can use your knowledge to offer a proposal that is more likely to end in agreement.

At TheCompleteDivorce, we provide you with what you need to successfully do your California divorce on your own. We provide all the required family law court forms in our automated forms program, all the video tutorials, and an automated customizable Marital Settlement Agreement

(Divorce Agreement). If you need more help, you can get our package which includes time with a divorce mediator.

Before you go, consider if we can help you. We have helped thousands of couples in California. Our guided DIY divorce is successful and cheap! Our services

are all 5-star!

Categories
Property Division (Community & Separate)

2024 Options for Dividing the Property in a California Divorce

Options for Dividing the Family Home in a California Divorce

Property to Divide in Divorce:

There are common properties to divide in a divorce like the family home, retirement plans, employee stock plans, household items, and debts. You can

divide these using the traditional divisions discussed, or use more creative strategies like holding the property jointly after divorce or constructing a payment plan for a buyout.

Options for the Family Residence:

You have a number of options for the family home. You can sell the house, one of you can buy it from the other, or you could jointly own the home.

Sell the Home:

If you sell the home, you divide the community proceeds from the sale. The sale proceeds are what you receive after you sold your house; the sale price less the mortgage, any other loans, and the costs to sell.

Once sold, you no longer own property with your spouse and can easily divide the cash between you. However, selling can have downsides. For example, you might want to avoid selling to keep your children in the house and avoid having to change schools and move away. On the other hand, you can minimize the impact by selling during your children’s summer break, a typically high-selling season, and avoid moving the children mid-year.

You can also include in your agreement that decisions to sell the house must be made jointly, like who will be the real estate agent, what will be the listing price, accepting an offer, and dividing the funds from escrow.

Buy-Out:

If you want to keep the house, you can buy your spouse out of their ownership in the family home. You owe your spouse one-half of the community equity in the home. This is calculated as the fair market value minus the loans less any separate property. This amount is then divided in two. You can value the home using comparables, online sites, paying for a formal appraisal, or negotiating a value with your spouse.

You can purchase the property by taking less of other community properties; pay cash for what you owe, or refinance the house to take cash out to pay your spouse. This is called a cash-out refinance. It is an expensive option because you will be paying it back to the bank with interest, and you may end up increasing your mortgage payment. You can also combine these two options by taking less from another asset and paying the rest with the refinance.

You might also negotiate the costs to sell the property, including any taxes, and reduce the amount you need to pay your spouse. Although the judge would not reduce the value of your home for these costs, you can do so by agreement.

Unless your spouse agrees to stay on the home loan, you will need to refinance the loan to take your spouse’s name off the loan. You will only be able to refinance in your name if you qualify for the loan, showing that you have the income and assets to take a loan for the increased amount.

If you have trouble removing your spouse from the loan, see if your spouse would be willing to stay on the loan if you provide some safeguards. You might agree that you are 100% liable for the mortgage, and if you miss more than 1 or 2 mortgage payments, your spouse can require that you sell the house. The consequence may seem severe, but although you would be legally liable in family court, the lender can still come after your spouse; and, if you miss a payment, your spouse’s credit will be impacted. And, as long as your spouse is on your loan, your spouse’s ability to qualify for a loan will be limited.

If you are the one staying on the loan for your spouse, consider the risk that your spouse may miss a payment impacting your credit. Also, speak with a lender in your area to learn what the current requirements are for borrowing and whether you would qualify for your own loan if you stayed on the loan with your spouse. You might suggest to your spouse that your name must be taken off the loan if you need to buy a house upon a certain amount of notice, like 90 days. If your spouse fails to do so, you can require the house to be sold.

Deferred Sale & Co-Ownership:

Another option is to postpone the house sale, called a deferred sale. Until you sell, you continue to co-own the house, typically as equal owners. However, one

of you stays in the house and has sole and exclusive use. That person is responsible for agreed to expenses, such as the mortgage, property tax, home insurance, utilities, garbage, and basic upkeep, until the date to sell.

You want to include a firm sell date because it sets realistic expectations and prevents one spouse from keeping the equity in the home from the other. You can time the sale with the children finishing a significant school year such as graduating elementary or high school. If it comes time

to selling, and you both agree, you can agree to extend the sale date.

If you choose to do a deferred sale, you need an agreement that set outs your responsibilities clearly; who will live in the house, who is paying what expenses, what your ownership interests will be, whether you can have a renter or romantic partner living there, whether you can take a loan against the house, and when the house must be sold. The more clearly your expectations are defined, the better the deferred sale will succeed.

Nesting:

Sometimes in a deferred sale, couples will nest. In nesting, the children stay in the family residence, and the parents rotate between the family residence and a smaller place, like a one-bedroom apartment. The parents choose this arrangement so that the children are not disrupted and to save money on a second place. If you are considering this option, consult with a parenting coach or therapist. Nesting requires a lot from parents, from respecting each other’s space to being able to communicate well. Nesting should be in your children’s best interest, not just a financial benefit.

Review each of these options carefully and work with your spouse to reach the best solution for your family.

At TheCompleteDivorce, we provide you with what you need to successfully do your California divorce on your own. We provide all the required family law court forms in our automated forms program, all the video tutorials, and an automated customizable Marital Settlement Agreement (Divorce Agreement). If you need more help, you can get our package which includes time with a divorce mediator.

Before you go, consider if we can help you. We have helped thousands of couples in California. Our guided DIY divorce is successful and cheap! Our services are all 5-star!

Need more? Check out our full-service divorce mediation services, Families First Mediation, https://ffmediation.com.

Categories
Property Division (Community & Separate)

Unveiling the Secrets: How to Prove Your Separate Property in a California Divorce

How to Prove Your Separate Property in a California Divorce

Figuring out the Character of Property in a CA Divorce: Identifying and Proving Ownership

Community and Separate Property in a California divorce can pose challenges in identification during the complex landscape of a California divorce. In the union of marriage, it’s commonplace to share bank accounts and utilize gifts, inheritance, or pre-marital savings to offset expenses or loans. However, navigating the blurred lines between separate and community property requires a keen understanding of the intricacies involved.

  • Shared Finances and Mixed Property

Marriage often leads to the intertwining of financial aspects, potentially leading to assets with dual characteristics—both separate and communal—referred to as mixed property. In a litigation scenario, the division of mixed property rests on your ability to substantiate the separate portion. Success in this endeavor results in the separate portion going to you, while the communal portion is equally divided between both parties.

  • Diverse Scenarios: Community vs. Separate Property

For many couples, community property predominates, especially when they enter marriage with limited assets or haven’t received inheritances or gifts. In such cases, assets are shared equally upon divorce due to the absence of significant separate property elements.

Conversely, some couples acquire separate or mixed assets over time. This situation warrants the obligation to validate your separate property claim—a daunting task, especially in lengthy marriages with inadequate records or fluctuating property values. Nonetheless, with proper information, this can be accomplished.

Proving Separate Property

To establish separate property, several avenues can be pursued, often encapsulated as the “Four T’s“: Time, Tracing, Title, and Transmutation.

?brizy media=wp e9efc83816c14a12ff31b064ae4d2e01

TIME:

This concrete factor highlights the property’s character. Demonstrating that an asset was acquired before marriage or post-separation solidifies its status as separate property. However, merely proving time isn’t enough. If you included your spouse’s name in the title while married, the property might have been conveyed to the community.

TITLE:

Ownership is showcased through a title. Assets like cars, real estate, bank accounts, and life insurance are prime examples. Sole ownership implies separate property, whereas joint ownership leans toward community property. Exceptions exist for assets exclusively titled in one person’s name.

TRACING:

Employing evidence, such as bank statements, traces an asset’s original source and current status. For instance, showing a savings account statement from before marriage establishes funds as separate property. Subsequent statements detail how those funds were utilized—whether saved, invested, or commingled with community assets.

TRANSMUTATION:

Even with established separate property, transmutation—an intentional change in property’s character—can occur. Property can transform from separate to community or vice versa, usually through a written agreement, unless specified otherwise.

  • Complex Cases and Expert Consultation

Matters like retirement accounts complicate property division due to market fluctuations affecting contributions. Expert advice, often from a divorce professional, is crucial for accurate evaluation of property portions.

  • Achieving Clarity in Property Division

Successful establishment of property character results in a judge confirming ownership. Failure to prove separation leads to a 50-50 division of communal property. Negotiations may also secure partial separate property credits, even if conclusive proof is elusive.

  • The Core of Property Division

Ultimately, reaching a fair and sensible agreement in asset and debt division remains paramount. Unveiling your separate property’s worth may be crucial, emphasizing the significance of meticulous record-keeping for proof. Even with limited documentation, amicable negotiation can ensure equity.

  • Empowering Your Divorce Journey

At TheCompleteDivorce, we empower you with the tools necessary for a successful California divorce. Our offerings encompass required family law forms, comprehensive video tutorials, and customizable Marital Settlement Agreements. Should you require further assistance, our package includes valuable time with a divorce mediator.

Before departing, reflect on the potential support we can offer. With a proven track record of aiding countless California couples, our guided DIY divorce process is cost-effective and successful. Our services are consistently acclaimed, reflected in our 5-star reputation.

Categories
Property Division (Community & Separate)

Dividing Community Property vs Separate Property | Ca Divorce

How to Divide Community Property in a California Divorce

Dividing Community Property:

When it comes to a divorce in California, the division of community property is a crucial aspect that needs careful consideration. Understanding the various methods for property division can help ensure a smoother process. Let’s delve into some effective strategies for dividing community property and address the legal aspects associated with it.

One common method to divide community property is “in kind.” This involves both spouses receiving an equal share of the property, maintaining fairness in the division. For instance, if you possess 100 shares of a company valued equally, both spouses would receive 50 shares each, assuming the same tax or cost basis. Similarly, if you have $5,000 in a joint savings account, the account would be split into two, with each spouse receiving $2,500. However, it’s important to note that for this method to work, you must possess identical assets with the exact same value.

However, not all properties can be divided in this manner. Assets like cars cannot be divided “in kind.” In such cases, a buy-out option comes into play. One spouse may choose to retain the car and compensate the other spouse for their share of the car’s value. It’s important to determine the present value of the property, rather than its value at the time of separation or purchase. This means that if a buyout is chosen, only half of the property’s value is owed to the other spouse, as you already own the other half.

For couples with diverse assets, totaling the value received by each spouse is an option. If there’s a discrepancy in the total values received, the spouse who received more compensates the other to balance the division. This type of payment is known as an “equalization payment,” and it’s worth noting that it isn’t taxable.

Should your case go to litigation, a judge will employ one of these division methods to distribute your property. However, if you’re negotiating an agreement, an additional option is available to you – the choice to jointly hold certain properties post-divorce. It’s wise to consult a divorce professional to ensure proper titling and to comprehend the potential legal or tax implications of jointly holding property after divorce.

?brizy media=wp 3d37698189de03d826374f627a642d6a

Dividing Separate Property:

Separate property or debt acquired before marriage or post-separation is considered individual ownership and is not part of the community property equalization process. At TheCompleteDivorce, we’re dedicated to assisting you with your California divorce journey. Our comprehensive package includes all the necessary family law court forms, informative video tutorials, and a customizable Marital Settlement Agreement. For those in need of more support, our extended package includes time with a divorce mediator.

Before making any decisions, consider the benefits of our services. With numerous successful cases in California, our guided DIY divorce process is not only efficient but also cost-effective. Our consistently top-rated services speak for themselves

Categories
Property Division (Community & Separate)

How to Divide Household Items in a California Divorce (2024)

How to Divide Household Items in a California Divorce

?brizy media=wp 835026a601f112946127978bbcaeba02

Household, Sentimentals, Antiques:

Household items, like furniture, kitchen appliances and cookware, backyard furniture, and tools, also need to be divided. The court values these items at

resale value, not replacement value.

Make a list of what you have:

It’s an acceptable choice to go through each room in the house and make a broad inventory of everything that is shared marital property, which could include:

  • Electric household appliances
  • Reclining chairs and sofas
  • Tables and sets for dining
  • Dinnerware sets
  • Outdoor equipment
  • Jewelry

Flip a Coin:

Couples can easily sit down and divide the items. If you have a hard time dividing the household items, you can list the disputed items in order of preference. Flip a coin with your spouse, and the winner of the coin toss goes first and picks an item on the list. Then it’s the other’s turn to pick. Continue alternating turns.

You could also value the items. If you are unsure of the value of an item, look to find one in a similar condition online. If it’s an antique, art, heirloom, or collectible, you may want to appraise the item. Once you have a value, you can buy it from your spouse for one-half the value. If you both are willing to buy it, it might be whoever is willing to pay the most. If that doesn’t work, you can sell it and divide the proceeds.

If you can’t take the furniture:

this can be stressful because it typically costs more to replace household items. Even though it’s not what a judge might do, see if you can negotiate a replacement cost into the division.

You may also have significant rewards, like airline miles, credit card points, or special privileges. Airlines miles usually cost money to transfer from one person’s name to the other. If one of you has community miles, you can value the miles and the other spouse can receive one-half the value in cash or in another property. Or, the owner can hold the miles in the account, and when the spouse is ready to use them, the spouse that owns the miles will purchase the flight for the

other.

You also can discuss how irreplaceable items like family photos, videos, or children’s crafts, are going to be shared to prevent any unpleasant surprises. With a little effort, you each can easily upload family photos and videos to a photo-sharing website or external hard drive. As for your children’s crafts, you can divide them or one of you can hold the items and give them to your children at an agreed to age.

Which things do not Include in Household Items:

Household items do not include your gifts, inheritance, or heirlooms. These are your separate property. If your spouse gave you a gift of a personal nature, such as an anniversary gift, then it is also considered your separate property. If the gift was substantial in value and purchased with community funds, and there’s no written agreement stating otherwise, then it can be considered part of the community division and not your separate gift. Substantial value depends on each family’s financial situation.

You can also be creative with the division of your property and debts. You can incorporate joint ownership of a property or a payment plan for an amount owed between you. This is one of the best advantages of having control of your divorce. Rather than approaching the property division in strict terms, you can negotiate an agreement that meets your personal goals.

Whatever you agree, once you have a divorce agreement about your property, it is final and cannot be changed, so make sure you take time to fully understand your property so that you make the right decisions.

At TheCompleteDivorce, we provide you with what you need to successfully do your California divorce on your own. We provide all the required family law court forms in our automated forms program, all the video tutorials, and an automated customizable Marital Settlement Agreement (Divorce Agreement). If you need more help, you can get our package which includes time with a divorce mediator.

Before you go, consider if we can help you. We have helped thousands of couples in California. Our guided DIY divorce is successful and cheap! Our services are all 5-star!

Categories
Property Division (Community & Separate)

2024 Employee Stock Plan Accounts in a California DivorceĀ 

Dividing Employee Stock Plan Accounts in a California Divorce

Employee Stock Plan:

With employee stock plans, the company offers the employee company stock, like stock options or restricted stock units, as part of the employee’s compensation. The company offers these benefits to attract talent and encourage employees to invest in their company’s growth. If their company does well, they do too.

The employee receives the stock in an award called a grant, and doesn’t get all the stock at once. Usually, the stock is given over a four year period in equal amounts. The process of receiving or earning the shares over time is called vesting. Only when the shares vest does the employee actually own the shares. For most of these benefits, the employee spouse pays the taxes automatically when the shares vest.

Figuring out which shares are community and which are separate does not solely depend on the date the grant was given to the employee. If the grant was given during the marriage, the shares that vested during the marriage are community but a portion of the unvested shares, which vest after the date of separation, will be community and some will be separate. Only if the grant was received after the date of separation will all the shares in that grant be the employee’s separate property.

For the community shares that do not vest until after separation, the employee spouse is only required to give one-half of the community shares to the non-employee spouse after it vests. Since each spouse needs to be responsible for the taxes on his or her portion, the couple will need to divide the tax obligation equally. You will have to file the right tax forms to do this. If you or your spouse has unvested shares, reach out to a divorce professional like an attorney-mediator or forensic accountant to help you with the calculation and the tax allocation.

At TheCompleteDivorce, we provide you what you need to successfully do your California divorce on your own. We provide all the required family law court forms in our automated forms program, all the video tutorials, and an automated customizable Marital Settlement Agreement (Divorce Agreement). If you need more help, you can get our package that includes time with adivorce mediator.

Before you go, consider if we can help you. We have helped thousands of couples in California. Our guided DIY divorce is successful and cheap! Our services

are all 5-star!

Need more? Check out our full service divorce mediation services, Families First Mediation, https://ffmediation.com

Categories
Property Division (Community & Separate)

How Assets and Debts Divide in a Ca Divorce law

How Assets and Debts Divide in a Ca Divorce law

While you work through your property to divide, remember to also work through your debts. Debts are assigned in the same way as property. If incurred during marriage, the debt is a community obligation, unless it was incurred in a frivolous or fraudulent manner. If the debt is a community, you are each responsible for one-half.

If you incurred a debt prior to marriage or after the date of separation, this is your separate responsibility. School loans are the exception. Even if you incurred school loans during marriage, the loans are your separate responsibility.

Make sure you are aware of all outstanding debts. This includes credit cards, car loans, and money you borrowed from a family member. Run a credit report to get a comprehensive list of debts. You are entitled to one free credit report a year and your credit score is not negatively impacted when you look up your own credit.

It is especially important to know whether you are both named on the debt. At the end of your divorce, you do not want to be named on any debts with your spouse. If you are both in debt, the creditor can come after either of you, even if your agreement says your spouse is responsible. If you have joint credit cards, agree to close those cards. If you are an authorized user, you do not need to close the card. The owner just needs to remove you as a user, and then the owner’s spouse can continue using the card.

The most important part of the asset and debt division is to reach an agreement that is fair and makes sense for you and your family. Identifying your separate property may be very important to you. If so, take time to pull records, like bank statements, receipts, or deeds, to prove your separate property. Even if you don’t have the best records, you can negotiate an amount with your spouse that you believe is fair.

At TheCompleteDivorce, we provide you what you need to successfully do your California divorce on your own. We provide all the required family law court forms in our automated forms program, all the video tutorials, and an automated customizable Marital Settlement Agreement (Divorce Agreement). If you need more help, you can get our package that includes time with a divorce mediator.

Before you go, consider if we can help you. We have helped thousands of couples in California. Our guided DIY divorce is successful and cheap! Our services are all 5-star!

Categories
Filing Divorce Petition & Response

FL-810 California Summary Dissolution| Cost & Filing Process

Summary Dissolution in California: Complete Process

In sunny California, where dreams often take shape, marriage can sometimes hit rough patches. Like any adventure, it might lead you to unfamiliar territory. If you’re thinking about separating in California, it’s crucial to know your options. One option is called “summary dissolution California,” a simplified process designed for specific situations. In this easy-to-follow guide, we’ll explain what summary dissolution is, what you need to qualify, how much it might cost, and the step-by-step process. Think of it as your friendly guide, making this emotional journey easier to understand, almost like having a helpful California lawyer by your side.

What is Summary Dissolution?

Summary dissolution in California is like the fast lane to ending a marriage. It’s for couples with straightforward situations, offering a quicker, more cost-effective alternative to regular divorce. You both file a joint petition outlining the terms, but there are some criteria to meet: a relatively short marriage, no kids, limited assets, and an agreement on property. It’s speedier, usually taking a few months, and you can get the necessary forms online or from the court. So, if you’re looking for a simpler and quicker way to divorce, this might be it.

California Summary Dissolution Facts (2023)

  1. Quick Resolution: When it comes to swift resolutions, summary dissolution in California is the name of the game. Couples can often wrap up their separation relatively quickly, but it’s important to note that this process takes approximately six months from filing paperwork to the formal divorce.
  2. Cost-Effective: Wallets, take note! Summary dissolution in California is usually gentler on your finances compared to the standard divorce route. Expect lower filing fees and fewer legal costs. You must pay a $450 filing fee when submitting forms for summary dissolution, which is the same as the divorce filing fee.
  3. Limited Eligibility: Not everyone gets to ride the summary dissolution train in California. Specific criteria must be met to qualify, including strict requirements about the length of your marriage, the presence of children, and your financial health, so it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution.
  4. No Court Battles: Good news for those averse to courtroom drama – summary dissolution typically steers clear of contentious court appearances. It’s a smoother ride for couples looking to part ways amicably, and there are just three steps involved in a summary dissolution.

How Much Does it Cost?

In California, putting a price on the end of a marriage may seem impersonal, but it comes down to a standard $435 filing fee, no matter where you are in the state. Whether you’re in bustling Los Angeles or serene Santa Barbara, the cost remains the same. However, when it’s a joint decision, and both partners are on board from the beginning, the total filing fee is still $435. But, if one spouse is responding to the petition, they’ll also need to pay the same $435 fee to file their response. So, while it may seem like a financial transaction, it’s a reminder that divorce, even in its official paperwork, has a human and emotional side to it.

Requirements for Summary Dissolution in California

To qualify for summary dissolution in California, several key requirements must be met. These include:

  • Residency Requirement: At least one of you, either you or your spouse or partner, must be a resident of California for a minimum of six months. Additionally, you must have lived in the county where you filed for divorce for at least three months.
  • Mutual Agreement: Both parties involved must agree to end the marriage or partnership due to “irreconcilable differences.” This mutual consent is a fundamental aspect of summary dissolution.
  • Child-Free Status: There should be no minor children from the marriage or partnership, and neither spouse can be pregnant at the time of filing.
  • Short Duration: Your marriage or domestic partnership should have a relatively short duration, spanning less than five years.
  • No Rental Properties: Neither you nor your spouse should rent any land or buildings, except for your current residence.
  • Limited Debt: Your unpaid debts must not exceed $6,000, excluding car notes.
  • Marital Asset Limit: The total worth of your marital assets, including deferred compensation and retirement assets but excluding cars, should not surpass $45,000.
  • Separate Asset Limit: Neither party should possess separate assets worth more than $45,000.
  • Settlement Agreement: Both parties must have signed a settlement agreement that outlines the fair division of assets and debts. This written agreement is a critical component of the summary dissolution process.
  • Asset Transfer Documents: You both must have signed all necessary documents to facilitate the transfer of assets and debts as per the settlement agreement.
  • No Alimony: Neither spouse should be seeking spousal support (alimony) under Cal. Fam. Code § 2400.
  • Information Booklet: Both parties should have read the summary dissolution information booklet as outlined in Cal. Fam. Code § 2406.
?brizy media=wp 8d20040031beb8135dea1cfce58c8c2d

How to File for Summary Dissolution in California:

If you and your spouse are thinking about going for a summary dissolution in California, let’s break it down in an easy-to-understand way. Here’s what you need to do to prepare your summary dissolution papers:

1. Start with a Joint Petition:

  • Both of you need to fill out and sign a joint petition. Think of this as your official request to end your marriage or domestic partnership.
  • Make sure the petition clearly says that you meet all the requirements for a summary dissolution.
  • Don’t forget to provide your current mailing addresses.
  • If one of you wants to change back to a previous name, make that clear in the petition and state the name you want to go back to.

2. Share Your Financial Info:

You both need to share detailed information about your money, property, and expenses. This helps ensure everything gets divided fairly.

There are some specific documents you’ll need to deal with:

  • Declaration of Disclosure: This is where you lay out all your assets, debts, and other money stuff.
  • Schedule of Assets and Debts or Property Declaration: Use this to list all the things you own and owe together.
  • Tax Returns: You’ll need copies of your tax returns from the last two years to give a clear picture of your finances.
  • Investment and Business Info: If either of you has investments or businesses from when you were still together, make sure to document that too.

Filling your Summary Dissolution Papers

Ensure you meet the eligibility criteria, including a short marriage, limited property and debt, no minor children, and an agreement on property and debt division.

  • Prepare the Summary Dissolution Forms:

Obtain and complete the required summary dissolution forms, such as FL-800, FL-810, and FL-820.

  • Sign the Summary Dissolution Agreement:

Both spouses must sign the Summary Dissolution Agreement (FL-810) outlining property and debt division.

  • Complete the Property Declaration:

Each spouse must fill out a Property Declaration (FL-820) to disclose all assets and debts acquired during the marriage.

  • Make Copies:

Create copies of all completed forms for your records and court filing.

  • File the Summary Dissolution Papers:

Take completed forms to the local family court clerk’s office and pay the filing fee unless eligible for a fee waiver.

Receive a case number from the clerk after filing.

  • Serve the Documents:

Serve a copy of the filed documents to your spouse through personal service, mail, or another legal method.

  • Wait for the Waiting Period:

Observe the mandatory six-month waiting period during which finalization is not possible.

  • Complete the Judgment Forms:

After the waiting period, complete the Judgment forms, including FL-820 (Revised) and FL-830.

  • File the Judgment Forms:

Submit the completed Judgment forms to the court clerk’s office for filing.

  • Get Your Judgment:

After processing, receive a copy of the Final Judgment of Summary Dissolution.

  • Notify Creditors and Update Records:

Inform creditors and update records regarding changes in marital status, property, and debts.

How Long Does a Dissolution Take in California?

A summary dissolution does not last forever. Once you file the proper documentation with the court, your divorce is usually finalized within 6 months. That implies you can resume your life relatively fast.

It’s like hastening the end of your marriage, but keep in mind that not everyone qualifies for this choice. You must meet certain standards, and both you and your partner must agree to end the marriage. So, if you’re qualified and can work together, a summary dissolution may be a more uncomplicated way to divorce in California.

Conclusion:

The process of dissolving a marriage in California, whether through summary dissolution or a traditional divorce,

In conclusion, summary dissolution in California is a viable option for couples looking to end their marriage or domestic partnership quickly and cost-effectively. By understanding the requirements, costs, and procedures, you can embark on this journey with confidence, knowing that you are taking the steps necessary to move forward in your life. Remember that consulting with legal professionals can provide valuable guidance throughout this emotional process, helping you navigate the path to freedom with clarity and peace of mind. Understanding family laws in California is also essential, as they play a significant role in the dissolution process, especially when family dynamics are involved.