Eligibility for “Summary” Divorce / Dissolution

In many states divorcing couples can apply for a summary divorce. This is a streamlined process. However, the eligibility criterion for a summary divorce varies from state to state. This section will explain the eligibility requirements and the advantages of a summary divorce. In some states, a summary divorce is also known as a simple divorce.

The Difference

A summary divorce is a simpler and faster way of legally terminating your marriage. Unlike traditional divorces, a summary divorce involves:

• Less paperwork including limited court filings and arguments.

• Limited Court appearances. In some states, court appearance is not required for a summary divorce.

• No dispute between the spouses on issues such as property division. One of the eligibility criteria for a summary divorce is that there should be no dispute between the spouses.


Every state has its own eligibility requirements. The general requirements for a summary divorce include:

Time – The marriage must be a relatively short term marriage – generally 5 years of less.

Children – There must be no minor children including adopted children.

Real Property – The couple must not own real estate of significant value.

Marital Property – State law generally limits the amount of marital property that can be owned by couples seeking a summary divorce.

Separate Property – Just like marital property, state law limits the amount of separate property that can be owned by spouses seeking a summary divorce.

Spousal Support – The spouses must agree to waive the right to receive spousal support.

In a few states couples with children or significant separate or marital property can qualify for summary divorce if they can provide proof to the court that all issues of the divorce have been resolved between them. Ideally they will be required to provide a written agreement indicating the terms of which the issues have been resolved. The agreement will form part of the divorce petition.

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