Dissolution of Marriage Meaning 

Dissolution of marriage in California or divorce is the most common way to end a marriage. There are two types of dissolution petition you can file. One is the standard dissolution of marriage.  The second type is called summary dissolution of marriage. What is the difference? Below I will give you the basic difference between the two types. In addition, I will explain the meaning of legal separation and annulment in California. We you find this information useful !

 Summary Dissolution of Marriage  vs. Dissolution

Summary dissolution of marriage is basically expedited divorce. Generally, in a regular divorce proceeding (dissolution proceeding), you must wait at least 6 months after you file for divorce to have your divorce finalized. With summary dissolution you do not have to wait the 6-month period. Although summary dissolution is faster not everyone qualifies to file for summary dissolution. The following requirements must be met if you want an expedited divorce.

Dissolution of Marriage in California 


  • At least one spouse has resided in California for 6 months and 3 months in the county where you want to file for summary dissolution.
  •  Must wait at least 6 months to get the judgement for divorce finalized.

orSummary Dissolution of Marriage Requirement

  • Have been married for less than 5 years (from the date you got married to the date you separated);
  • Have no children together born or adopted before or during the marriage (and you are not expecting a new child now)
  • Do not own any part of land or buildings.
  • Do not rent any land or buildings (except for where you now live, as long as you do not have a 1-year lease or option to buy); 
  • You have $6,000 or less in debts acquired during marriage. 
  • Total property (community property) acquired during marriage is less than $45,000
  •  Do not have separate property worth more than $45,000
  •  Both parties agree in signed writing as to how they should divide assets and debts.
  •  Both parties agree that neither party will get spousal support!
  •  At least one spouse has resided in California for 6 months and 3 months in the county where you want to file for summary dissolution.

Legal Separation

Legal separation is when parties agree to live apart but want to remain legally married for variety of reason of tax, religious or other reasons. Legally separated individuals are unable to remarry or enter a domestic partnership. In most cases, legally separated individuals work out an agreement on their own or will have their attorneys or mediator assist them in negotiating an agreement.

Annulment in California 

Annulment in California is when the courts say that your marriage invalid. In short, in California is like asking the judge to cancel the marriage. Thus, once your annulment is approved you were legally never married.

In California you may ask for an annulment if  you satisfy one or more of the criteria below:

  • Under 18 when you entered a marriage
  • One or both parties were already married when they entered the marriage.
  • Marriage as result of fraud
  • Consent to marriage was obtained through force.
  • Physical inability to consummate the marriage (not being able to have sex at least once)