Enough already. You’ve fought with your spouse, moved out, and started the divorce process. Both you and your partner are ready to move on. So what’s the hold-up? Why can’t the divorce just happen?
Blame it on California law. The law is clear that a marriage cannot be legally terminated until six months after the divorce papers were served (or from when the Respondent was served). So if you’re thinking that the split will be quick, even if you agree on everything, think again. You’ll have to wait six months and then wade through whatever legal action is necessary to sort out the case. It’s going to take a while, that’s for sure. But there are still things you can do to speed up the process and get on, eventually, with your life.
Bifurcation is one such method, and it stands as arguably the most appealing. Bifurcating a divorce generally means separating the issue of the marital status of the parties from other issues in the case. Doing so allows the issue of the marital status of the parties to be dealt with early on, thus providing a means by which the parties can be returned to the status of “single” persons quickly and easily. The reason for this is due to California’s “no fault” approach to divorce: married people are allowed to end their divorce for any reason or no reason; it’s there for the asking, so there is (typically) nothing to actually deal with when returning the parties to their pre-marital status. The issue of dissolving the marital status will not be tied to other time-consuming issues, such as custody, support, dividing property and determining the value of shared assets. These issues are of course highly important, but there is usually no reason to wait until all of those issues are resolved before one can return to the status of a “single” person.
So, is bifurcation right for you? Maybe, but don’t rush in. If you’re considering this method, get some advice first so you can decide if bifurcation is advantageous for your situation.