Under California Law, court will allow a Southern California divorce case to be bifurcated or split into two parts. Generally, if a case is bifurcated, the first issue resolved is marital status. The court grants the couple a divorce – making them each legally single again – but reserves all remaining issues for trial at a later date. The remaining issues could include matters such as property distribution, child custody, child support, alimony or business valuation.
Bifurcations are usually requested because one or both of the spouses want to remarry. The law provides that the marital status can be terminated not less than six months from when the Respondent was served with the Petition for Dissolution. However often times a dissolution may take far longer than the six months to be completed.
Another common reason a bifurcation is sought is because one or both of them want to file their tax returns for the current year as a “single” taxpayer. The tax laws state that a person can file as a “single” person as long as his or her marital status was terminated before the end of the year. As such, even if the marital status is ended on December 31st, the taxpayer can file as a “single” person for the entire year.
If you are currently going through a divorce in Southern California, or are considering a divorce from your spouse, it is crucial to contact a Southern California divorce attorney to ensure that the dissolution of your occurs in a timely fashion and you receive all the benefits afforded to you under California law.
Please feel free to contact Wallin & Klarich to discuss your case. You can reach us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (888) 749-7428 or go to our website at wklaw.com for more information.