There is a quick, easy way to get divorced called “summary dissolution.” You will not have to go to court and you may not need to hire a lawyer. But remember: it is in your best interest to see a lawyer about ending your domestic partnership.
Not everyone can get a summary dissolution. Most people have to get a regular divorce. This section will help you decide if you qualify for a summary dissolution and, if you do, how to file it.
Remember, with domestic partnerships registered in California, you do not need to meet any residency requirements, so you can file your summary dissolution in California even if neither one of you still lives in California.
Keep in mind that a summary dissolution is a divorce, NOT a legal separation. Learn about the differences between divorce and legal separation.
Alert: These instructions are for registered domestic partners ONLY. If you are married and want to dissolve your marriage, click for help filing a summary dissolution for a marriage. If you are both, married to your same-sex spouse AND in a registered domestic partnership, and you want to end both at the same time, click to read the instructions for dissolving both a same-sex marriage and domestic partnership.
Do You Qualify for a Summary Dissolution?
To qualify for a summary dissolution of your domestic partnership you must meet ALL of the following requirements. You and your domestic partner:
- Both want to terminate your domestic partnership;
- Have not been registered as a domestic partnership for more than 5 years on the date you file your Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership;
- Have no children together born or adopted before or during the domestic partnership (and neither of you is pregnant 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);
- Do not owe more than $6,000 for debts acquired since the date of your domestic partnership;
- Have less than $40,000 worth of property acquired during the domestic partnership;
- Do not have separate property worth more than $40,000;
- Agree that neither partner wants partner support from the other; AND
- Have signed an agreement that either divides your property (including your cars) and debts or says there is no community property or debts to divide.
I qualify; go to the next step.
I do not qualify; help me get a regular divorce.
- Read the California Secretary of State’s brochure on terminating a domestic partnership
You MUST read Terminating a California Registered Domestic Partnership.
- This brochure will help you throughout your case.
- You have to swear under “penalty of perjury” that you have read and understood the brochure.
- Fill out your Notice of Termination.
- Write up your property agreement.
- You can write up your own agreement or you can use this fillable property agreement. Just fill in the blanks with your information. Both of you must sign and date it.
- If you do not have any property or debt to divide, write up an agreement that says that. Both of you must sign and date it.
- Have your forms reviewed.
If your court’s family law facilitator or self-help center helps people with divorce and summary dissolution cases, ask them to review your paperwork. They can make sure you filled it out properly before you move ahead with your case.
You can also hire your own lawyer to review your papers or to get legal advice, either with your entire divorce case, or just the parts of it that you may need more help with (called “limited scope representation” or “unbundling”). Click for help finding a lawyer. Click to learn more about “limited scope representation.”
- Make at least 2 copies of all your forms (including your property agreement).
One copy will be for you; another copy will be for your domestic partner. The original is for the California Secretary of State.
- Send your forms, including your property agreement, to the California Secretary of State.
Mail the signed and notarized original of your Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership to:
Secretary of State
There is no fee. You can also drop it off in person at the Secretary of State’s Sacramento office or at the Secretary’s regional office in Los Angeles. Click for those locations. Call the Secretary of State at 1-916-653-3984 if you have any questions.
Domestic Partners Registry
P.O. Box 942877
Sacramento, CA 94277-0001
- Your domestic partnership will automatically end after 6 months.
You have to wait 6 months from the day you filed your Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership with the Secretary of State. You do not need to do anything else.
- After these 6 months, you will be divorced. You can get remarried or enter into a new domestic partnership if you wish.
- If either one of you decides that you do not want to get divorced through process during the 6 months, you must file a Revocation of Termination of Domestic Partnership with the Secretary of State. If you do this, you must send a copy of the revocation form to your partner by first-class mail. There is no fee.
- If your partner files and sends you a Revocation of Termination of Domestic Partnership but you still want to get a divorce, you will not be able to get that divorce by summary dissolution. Instead, you will have to start a divorce case in court. Click to find out how to file for divorce in court.
Forms - Summary Dissolution for Domestic Partners
The forms in the table below are not court forms, but are governmental forms from the Secretary of State. To download a form (in PDF format), click on the form description in the table below.
Fill out this property agreement unless you write up your own.