There are two ways a couple may obtain a divorce in California. The first is called a regular dissolution, and the second a summary dissolution. Filing a Joint Petition for a Summary Dissolution of Marriage (form FL-800) is cheaper and quicker than obtaining a regular dissolution or divorce. A couple wishing to procure a summary dissolution won't have to appear before a judge or hire lawyers, although it is desirable to consult with a divorce lawyer about the ending of the marriage.
The following conditions must be met for a couple to be eligible for summary dissolution of marriage:
1) Have been married or been registered domestic partners for less than 5 years, on the date of filing the Joint Petition for Summary Dissolution of Marriage or Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership.
2) Have no children together that were adopted or born before or during the marriage or partnership.
3) Not be pregnant at the time of filing the FL-800
4) Do not own or have an interest in any real estate: house, condominium, rental property, land, etc.
5) Community property owned by the couple must not exceed a total worth of $38.000. Community property is defined as property that is acquired by husband, wife or jointly during their marriage, with the exception of gifts and inheritance.
6) The total debt owned by the couple, excluding vehicle debt can not exceed $6,000.
7) Either spouse must have lived in California for at least 6 months prior to seeking a summary dissolutions, and in the county where the petition for a summary dissolution will be filed for 3 months.
Obtain the following forms:
1) Income and Expense Declaration (form FL-150) for each spouse.
2) Draft a Property Settlement Agreement, to be dated and signed by each spouse.
3) Joint Petition for Summary Dissolution of Marriage (form FL-800).
4) Make an extra copy of the blank Request for Judgment, Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage, and Notice of Entry of Judgment (form FL-820), to be filed after the six months waiting period.
5) Make an extra copy of the blank Notice of Revocation of Petition for Summary Dissolution (form FL-830). This form is used to stop the summary dissolution of marriage.
File all the forms in the appropriate court in your jurisdiction with the court clerk and pay the appropriate fee.
There is a six months delay from the day the FL-800 is filed in case one or both of the spouses change their minds about the divorce, in which case the FL-830 should be filed to stop the process. If the spouses want to proceed with the divorce, FL-820 should be filed.
When the endorsed-filed copy of the FL-820 is received from the court, the couple is officially divorced and free to remarry.