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Simple Divorce / Summary Divorce Basics

Posted by attorney Howard Lewis

If you want a divorce and you and your spouse have no children and no property together, then you may want to consider getting a simple divorce (aka summary divorce, summary dissolution). A simple divorce is the cheapest type of divorce and also the quickest to complete.

Requirements of a summary divorce

Each state’s laws may have slightly varying requirements for a married couple’s eligibility for a summary divorce, but they usually include some version of the following conditions:

  • No children
  • A short marriage (typically 5 years or shorter)
  • Little or no property/debts owned together
  • Total value of marital property is less than a certain amount (usually about $35,000)
  • Each spouse’s total separate property value is less than a certain amount (usually same ceiling as marital property)

Benefits of a simple divorce

Benefits of a simple divorce compared to a traditional divorce:

  • Much cheaper. The costs usually only encompass the filing fee, and minimal attorney fees if you hired representation.
  • Few or no court appearances. In some states a court doesn’t require you to make an appearance at all, whereas courts in other states may have you show up just once or twice.
  • Extremely quick. Since couples filing for a simple divorce have no children and very little to no property, a big portion of what usually takes up most of the time in normal divorces is cut out. In some states a simple divorce can be completely concluded in about one month if all the paperwork is filed on time.

Check with your specific state's laws to find out more if you're interested in seeing whether you can get a simple/summary divorce. If a simple divorce isn't appropriate for your situation, then you may want to check out information on uncontested divorce or contested divorce.

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