Summary Dissolution – Everything You Need to Know
Although marriage rates have almost halved since the 1990s, a considerable number of unions still end in divorce. Recent statistics show that more than 600,000 divorces and annulments are granted each year, which highlights just how many people are filing petitions to formally end a marriage.
However, the divorce process is far from easy. When couples disagree about the terms of a separation, it can spark legal battles that go on for years and cost a fortune. With an average timescale of 12-18 months and a typical cost of $12,000 it’s easy to see why divorce can be such a stressful process. But what if there was another way? Summary dissolution is an alternative way of divorcing a spouse that could save you time, money, and heartbreak.
What Is Summary Dissolution?
A summary dissolution is the formal ending of a marriage and once complete, the couple will be divorced. Unlike standard divorces, however, a summary dissolution doesn’t require a court hearing and can be processed and completed within just six months.
After submitting the relevant forms and disclosure the required financial information, there is a six-month waiting period before the court will ‘summarily dissolve’ the marriage. After the six-month period, the divorce is granted by a judge, without the need for a court hearing. This means you won’t need to worry about a contentious battle or face your ex-partner across a courtroom to ensure your divorce is finalized.
Are You Eligible for Summary Dissolution?
Not every marriage can be ended via summary dissolution, as it is only available in certain cases. To apply for a summary dissolution, you’ll need to meet certain eligibility criteria. For example, summary dissolution can only be used when both spouses agree to end the marriage, the marriage lasted less than five years and the couple does not have (and isn’t expecting) any children.
In addition to this, summary dissolution can only be used when a couple doesn’t own any real estate, has debts of less than $6,000 (apart from car loans) and has assets of less than $47,000 in jointly owned property and $47,000 in separately owned property.
As you can see, summary dissolution is designed to accelerate and simplify the divorce process in instances where couples have minimal debts, relatively few assets and no children.
What Are the Benefits of Summary Dissolution?
If you want to end your marriage and are eligible for summary dissolution, a divorce can be obtained more quickly and at a significantly lower cost than via a standard divorce. Furthermore, many people find that a summary dissolution is far less stressful than a regular divorce, as each spouse needs to agree to the terms for it to proceed.
Although a summary dissolution is less complicated than a typical divorce, don’t assume that that process will necessarily be easy. There are still a variety of complex forms that need to be completed and financial evidence that needs to be disclosed. Even a small error in these documents can prevent your divorce from being finalized via summary dissolution, which is why it’s beneficial to work with an experienced lawyer when petitioning to end your marriage.
With expert help and tailored legal advice, you can find out if you’re eligible to apply for a summary dissolution of your marriage and, if so, what the next steps are.