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Type of Divorce

The official word for divorce in California is dissolution. There are two ways of getting a divorce, or dissolution, in California. The usual way is called a Regular Dissolution. A shorter and easier way is called Summary Dissolution. The new method is shorter and easier. But not everybody can use it.

Briefly, a Summary Dissolution is possible for couples who:

  • have been married and/or in a domestic partnership five years or less (this means that the time between the date you married or registered your domestic partnership and the date you separated from your spouse or partner is five years or less);
  • have no children together that were adopted or born before or during the marriage or partnership (and the wife or partner is not pregnant now);
  • do not own or have an interest in any real estate (house, condominium, rental property, land, or a 1-year lease or option to buy);
  • do not owe more than $6,000 for debts acquired since the date of your marriage or partnership (do not count auto loans);
  • have less than $40,000 worth of property acquired during the marriage or partnership (do not count money you owe on the property or auto loans);
  • do not have separate property worth more than $40,000 (do not count money you owe on the property or auto loans);
  • agree that neither spouse or partner will ever get spousal support;
  • must both sign the Joint Petition and pay the court filing fees or get a fee waiver;
  • have signed a written agreement that divides your property and debts before filing the Joint Petition for Summary Dissolution; AND
  • at least one spouse or domestic partner has lived in California for the last six months and in the county where you plan to file for the last three months. (The only exception to this requirement is for same-sex married couples who were married in California, but neither lives in California and the state(s) in which the parties reside will not dissolve a same-sex marriage. Under those circumstances all of the other requirements above must be met, but the documents may be filed in the county where the parties were married in California.)

If you do not meet the Summary Dissolution requirements above, you must file for a "regular dissolution".

Choose Your Documents:

We recommend that all divorcing couples use a Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA). Read more...

Need it fast? Choose our expedited delivery option ($39.95) with the purchase of Paralegal-Prepared Documents and get your documents in 1 business day (e-mail delivery only). Normal turnaround is 3 business days for MSA and 4 business days for divorce and divorce/MSA combos.

California Divorce Forms


California Divorce $59.00
CA MSA $39.00
CA Divorce & MSA Combo (best value) $89.00

Legal Technician-Prepared

California Divorce $149.00
CA MSA $79.00
CA Divorce & MSA Combo (best value) $199.00
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