When the parties have been married and/or in a domestic partnership for no more than five years, and there are no children and relatively modest assets and liabilities, the parties may consider a “summary dissolution procedure” (Fam.C. § 2400).
Summary dissolution is a relatively straight-forward inexpensive procedure for dissolving a marriage and/or domestic partnership. The ultimate goal of marital/domestic partnership dissolution is just as the name implies—i.e., to proceed to judgment summarily. No formal court hearings or appearances are required; and a judgment of dissolution may be entered within six months after filing a joint petition (Fam.C. §§ 2401, 2403).
The Family Code emphatically advises couples who are divorcing to consult with a lawyer, saying that “(i)t is in the best interests of the parties to consult an attorney regarding the dissolution of their marriage” [Fam.C. § 2406 (b)(1)]. This is because working with an attorney who is an expert in divorce would ensure that the party is properly guided on what needs to be done.