Feinberg & Waller, APC
800-655-4766
Exclusivity in Practice
Integrity in Performance
Results-Oriented Divorce Attorneys

Bifurcated Divorce: A Faster Way Forward

Speed is not a word that is typically used to describe divorce in California. The process resembles a sluggish crawl more than a rapid sprint. This is due in part to the legal procedures that must be completed to separate and the strong emotions that often flare between separating spouses. Add in scheduling issues for spouses, lawyers, and judges and the general overcrowding of the courts and their ever-decreasing resources and it is easy to understand why it can take many months if not several years to finalize a divorce.

Faced with the prospect of a lengthy journey through the legal system, many parties choose to expedite their return to the status of "single" with a legal measure called "bifurcation." In general, "bifurcation" refers to separating from the main divorce case a particular issue and holding the trial on that issue as soon as possible. There are many reasons why this may be a preferred approach to resolving a particular issue in a divorce case, but by far, in California the most common use of this process is in resolving the status of the marital status; going from "married" to "single." This is called terminating marital status. In that context, the requesting party asks the court to terminate their status as married persons so they are once again "single." There are legal consequences to this procedure so it is not simply "handed out" for the asking. Rather, application must be made and certain procedural and substantive requirements must be met before this will be granted.

In the situation involving a request to terminate marital status, a party may wish to terminate their marital status immediately in order to re-remarry. Single status may also be desirable in order for spouses to file as "single" on their tax returns and receive tax deductions for paying alimony. Bifurcation is also appealing in the case where a party wishes to have a separate trial to deal with a specific issue. A couple may, for example, have a disagreement over ownership of a large asset such as an estate or a business. Depending on the extent of the disagreement, it might be worthwhile to hold a separate trial from the main divorce proceedings in order to decide ownership of the asset first, which may thus make the case easier to resolve once that issue if decided.

Parties who consider bifurcation should be aware that dissolution of marital status is not final, and the parties are not free to remarry until six months after divorce papers have been served or six months from when the responding party files their responsive papers. Also, bifurcation must be requested of the court and approval is not guaranteed. When a judge does grant bifurcation it often comes with conditions for the requesting party, such as continuing to provide medical insurance and other benefits for the other party. If you think bifurcation is something you wish to know more about feel free to call Feinberg & Waller and arrange for a consultation on this issue.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Calabasas Office
23501 Park Sorrento
Suite 103
Calabasas, CA 91302

Toll Free: 1-800-655-4766
Phone: 818-224-7900

Beverly Hills Office
433 North Camden Drive
Suite 600
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Toll Free: 1-800-655-4766
Phone: 310-859-7122

William A. Feinberg 1928 - 2001

View Our Video, "Marshall Waller, Martindale Hubble AV Rated Preeminent Attorney"

* CV, BV, and AV are registered certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties, Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards, and policies. Martindale-Hubbell is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the confidential opinions of members of the Bar and the Judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell ratings fall into two categories-legal ability and general ethical standards.

** The initial consultation is free to clients who retain Feinberg & Waller, APC. A significantly reduced flat fee is charged for the initial consultation. That fee is credited back to the client upon retention, thus resulting in no charge for the meeting. In the event the initial consultation fails to result in the retention of Feinberg & Waller, APC, the potential client nonetheless receives the consultation services at the significantly reduced fee.

  • AV Preeminent Martindale Hubbell lawyers Ratings
  • State Bar Of California | California Board of Legal Specialization
  • Ventura County  bar association | Est. 1928
  • Avvo
  • Beverly Hills Bar Association
  • Super lawyers
  • San Fernando Valley Bar Association
  • LACBA | Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • The State Bar of California
  • TLC | Los Angeles | Trial Lawyers Charities