What Does Bifurcating Mean in Divorce Cases?
In some cases, a person in a legal separation or divorce case could request an earlier or separate trial. This could be on a specific issue in that divorce case. It means that the concerned court can reach a decision based on that single issue. The other issues will be resolved later. This is generally done if an important issue exists and it must be be decided. Both parties cannot wait on this particular matter.
There are a number of issues which can be dealt in this manner. These includes visitation of children and their permanent custody. The separation date of the parties can also be decided quickly by this way. Other reasons include prenuptial agreement validity and terminating marital status.
One issue addressed before the rest
California courts could permit separate trials as resolving one single issue could be the only factor which bars the rest of that case to being decided. To give an example, a couple about to be separated will squabble on their property or debt and the time when it will cease belonging to both of them. Many couples argue about this date as it means that a specific property could belong to either both of them or any one of the two. The issue can be settled with the decision of a judge. Arguments about whether the debt is both their responsibility or of any one could be resolved.
In case one domestic partner or spouse has filed motion for separate trial, the other can file a response by filling out the “Responsive Declaration to Request for Order” form and filing it. Do note that asking for separate trial is not always easy to do, and may require a motion be filed with the court. There is a need to convince a judge as to why he or she must grant it. If possible, use the help of a lawyer to do the same.
Getting divorced in California can be complicated. Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.