Bifurcation: What Is it and how Can I Get One?

When you start the divorce process, you aren’t really sure when it will end. Usually, divorces are relatively (by legal standards) fast moving. However, if there are big issues that need to be worked out, or one side likes to fight, divorces can take time.

When Utah divorces take time, it might pay to think about bifurcation.

Bifurcation allows you to get legally divorced without resolving all the issues in your case. In other words, you still have to finish your divorce case, but you are divorced.

There are some advantages and disadvantages to bifurcation.

First, the advantages.

Advantages of bifurcation

  1. You’re divorced, like, right now.

Even if you have to wrap up the rest of the divorce issues, sometimes, you just need to be divorced from that other person.

  1. You can get remarried.

You’d be surprised how many people get divorce already eyeing their next marriage. If you’ve been separated a while, and your ready to get married again, bifurcation will allow you to move forward.

  1. You can get your spouse off your insurance.

Insurance companies drop exes like hot potatoes the day you become legally divorced.

Now, to the disadvantages

Disadvantages of bifurcation

  1. Your divorce might take longer.

When people are legally divorced, they oftentimes don’t feel the need to finalize their divorce, so the case lingers. This is one major reason courts don’t like to grant bifurcations.

  1. You won’t be on your spouse’s insurance anymore.

Contrasting with #3 above, if you bifurcate and are dependent on your spouse’s insurance, you’ll find yourself out in the cold.

  1. Cost.

You will need to have your attorney motion for bifurcation, and you’ll need to appear before the court for a hearing. Since this takes time, it also costs money.

One good way to save money and increase the likelihood your motion for bifurcation will succeed is to agree with your spouse on the bifurcation. That way, you could file a stipulated (agreed-on) motion. Courts are much more likely to approve a stipulated motion without a court hearing.

Courts Don’t Usually Like Bifurcations

Keep in mind that courts don’t normally like to grant bifurcations. Most judges think bifurcations elongate the divorce process.

Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t get a bifurcation. It just means you have to have good reasons for the bifurcation. The stronger the reasoning, the more likely you’ll be successful. Make sure you and your attorney spend time developing your arguments well.

Published On: January 17th, 2016Categories: Divorce LawsComments Off on Bifurcation: What Is it and how Can I Get One?
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About the Author: Marco Brown
Marco C. Brown was named Utah’s Outstanding Family Law Lawyer of the Year in 2015. He graduated with distinction from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 2007 and is currently the managing partner of Brown Family Law, LLC.
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