“Regular” divorce can be a messy, expensive, and involved process. For some couples, however, there is a simpler option: Summary Dissolution. This alternative can save time and money, but couples must meet specific criteria in order to use it.
A couple may use summary dissolution only if:
1. no living minor children have been born to or adopted by the parties before or during the marriage, unless someone other than the husband has been adjudicated the father;
2. neither party is pregnant;
3. they have been married fewer than eight years as of the date they file their joint declaration;
4. neither party owns any real estate;
5. there are no unpaid debts in excess of $8,000 incurred by either or both of the parties during the marriage, excluding automobile loans;
6. the total fair market value of the marital assets does not exceed $25,000, including net equity on automobiles;
7. neither party has nonmarital assets in excess of $25,000; and
8. neither party has been a victim of domestic abuse by the other.
If all of the above criteria are met, a couple may choose to use summary dissolution. Even in such cases, however, they may elect to get a “regular” divorce because certain things, such as division of retirement assets or businesses, and awards of spousal maintenance are not available through summary dissolution. There are other drawbacks to the process; you are relying solely on the honesty and good-will of your spouse and there is no right to a trial or an appeal with summary dissolution. Summary dissolution agreements can only be challenged for very limited number of reasons. Even if you decide to employ summary dissolution, it is advisable to confer with an attorney to ensure that you know your rights and options.
To discuss summary dissolution, or any other family law matter, call Kruse Family Law PLLC at 612.231.9865 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.