Arons & Solomon Divorce Lawyers | January 25, 2024 | Divorce
Divorces can be notoriously long and contentious. One way that some people try to get around these issues is to ask the court to bifurcate their divorce. If you are considering this route, it is important that you work with a skilled divorce lawyer who can advise you on the best course of action.
Understanding bifurcated divorces and whether this is an option for you is crucial when navigating this challenging time.
What Is Bifurcation?
Bifurcation is the process of obtaining a divorce now and resolving the legal issues later.
Divorce can involve many complex legal issues, such as:
Typically, all of these issues must be resolved before the court grants a divorce. This resolution can come in the form of a settlement agreement between the spouses or a decision by the court. However, it can take significant time to resolve these issues, especially if the case is contested and a trial is likely. A bifurcated divorce allows the couple to be legally divorced and able to remarry before having to resolve all of these issues.
Reasons for Bifurcation
The primary reason why people seek bifurcation is that they want to remarry, and they do not want to wait for the court to sort out the related legal issues. For example, one spouse may be engaged or may be with a partner who is pregnant and may want to legally marry without having to wait months or years for their divorce case to be resolved.
Another potential advantage of bifurcation is that it can create a precise date of when property should be treated as separate between the spouses. Generally, property acquired during the marriage is considered marital property and is subject to division. However, if the spouses are legally divorced, any after-acquired property may be considered their separate property and not subject to division by the court.
Drawbacks of Bifurcation
While some spouses may want a bifurcated divorce, it does come with some drawbacks. For example, it can slow the process down as there may be more hearings and paperwork involved in the case. A bifurcated divorce can remove this incentive to divorce and make the process more acrimonious. Attorney fees may be more expensive if the case is prolonged and involves more court preparation, hearings, and paperwork.
New Jersey’s Stance On Bifurcation
In one New Jersey case, the court said that New Jersey has no specific provision through a statute or court rule for bifurcation in which the court can grant a divorce and defer consideration of the other legal issues involved in the case. It was deferred to New Jersey’s Supreme Court Committee on Matrimonial Litigation, Interim Report, which stated that bifurcation should be granted only under unusual and extenuating circumstances and with the approval of the assigned judge.
A person is more likely to have their divorce case bifurcated if you can show that bifurcation is necessary under compelling circumstances and would not jeopardize your spouse’s rights.
Alternatives To Bifurcation
If you are worried about how long your divorce case might take, there are alternatives to a bifurcated divorce. Having an uncontested divorce can move things along more quickly than if you and your spouse disagree about the material issues involved in your case. You may be able to reach a settlement with the assistance of a skilled lawyer.
Mediation and arbitration are alternative forms of dispute resolution that can also be effective at speeding up the process of divorce. Using alternative methods to resolve your disputes allows you to avoid waiting on a judge’s schedule to clear up for a divorce trial.
Consult an Attorney for Help With a Bifurcated Divorce
If you are considering getting a divorce but are worried about how long this process might take and which route to take your case, consider contacting a divorce lawyer. Doing so can help provide clarity on your legal options and whether a bifurcated divorce is the best path forward.
Contact the Bergen County Family and Divorce Law Firm of Arons & Solomon Divorce Lawyers for more help
Contact the experienced family attorneys at Arons & Solomon Divorce Lawyers today for legal assistance. Visit our law office in Bergen County or give us a call at (201) 487-1199 to schedule a free consultation with our team.