Here in California, there is a mandatory 6-month period from a divorce filing until when the case can proceed through court. It’s sort of a “cooling off” period. But what if the wait is too long, and either you or your current spouse or partner want to become legally divorced as soon as possible?
There is an option that can speed along your status of being declared legally single. It’s called bifurcation, and we’ll talk about it in this issue.
What is bifurcation?
The word literally means “splitting into two parts.” According to the American Bar Association Journal, bifurcation as it relates to divorce is the actual granting of a divorce first and deciding to resolve other issues (child support, custody, alimony, etc.) afterwards.
Is bifurcation available in California?
Yes, according to California Family Code §2337.
Why would someone want a bifurcation?
There are a host of reasons for bifurcation, but the most common is when either party wants to remarry. Others include:
- Allowing you or your soon-to-be ex to file tax returns as a single person
- Attempting to avoid costly legal maneuvers of a contested divorce, which can drag a case out for years in some instances
- Determining an alternate date for valuation of assets
Are there conditions for bifurcation in California?
There are a few things to keep in mind with bifurcation.
- If you provide insurance for your spouse or partner and children, you must continue to do so until a judgment has been reached on all the remaining issues with your divorce.
- If you have a retirement plan through your employer, your spouse or partner must be given indemnity for losing death benefits.
How is bifurcation done in California?
If you’re the one requesting bifurcation, you must request a separate trial focusing solely on the issue of marital status. You cannot do this until 6 months after your spouse or partner has been served with divorce papers.
Find Out More About Bifurcation by Calling The Men’s Legal Center in San Diego
To talk more about bifurcation and the rest of your options, contact The Men’s Legal Center in San Diego by calling (619)234-3838.