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2012: What is a Bifurcation of Legal Status in a Divorce and how is This Obtained in San Diego Superior Court?

A divorce is a stressful phase of one’s life and can affect an individual’s health, mental stability, and financial situation. During a divorce case, many different matters have to be dealt with. These matters include assets, debts, child custody and visitation, alimony, and attorney fee. Dealing with divorce matters can get overwhelming for people and cause a psychological disturbance. The Law Office of Doppelt and Forney, APLC can help with your divorce case by separating the issue of your legal status from the remaining issues if appropriate for your case. There is a free consultation offered, up to one half hour, which is also confidential. You can discuss if bifurcation is an available and appropriate remedy for you.

While some divorce cases end in a few months, there are cases that may take several years to reach a final resolution which may be by agreement or trial. As a divorce case may take longer to reach a settlement, the spouses may want to change their legal status from “married” to “single.” Some spouses wish to remarry while some need to free themselves from the stress and move on with their lives. In a case such as this, the San Diego Superior Court offers an option to the spouses, and that is, “bifurcation.”

The process of bifurcation is a legal change of the marital status from married to single. In this case, the legal marital status is treated separately from other unsolved divorce matters. To proceed with bifurcation, bifurcated judgment has to be prepared and forwarded to the San Diego Superior Court. It happens when both spouses agree to proceed with it. Sending a written partial judgment for bifurcation to the court allows spouses to avoid a court hearing which can get overwhelming for both parties involved.

To understand the proceedings, one must have an understanding of preliminary declaration which comprises of two pleadings. The first pleading is the income and expense declaration which must include attachments such as profit and loss statements, pay stubs and tax returns. These are essential attachments without which it is not complete. All these attachments must be accurate and current. The other pleading of the preliminary declaration is the schedule of assets and debts. It is a comprehensive list that consists of all assets and liabilities of the community. These must contain all assets and debts whether they belong to the community property, separate property, or quasi-community property. Once these pleadings are complete and fulfilled, spouses can then discuss bifurcation as the service of the preliminary declarations of disclosure is mandatory before a San Diego Family Law Judge can grant a bifurcation. The step is crucial in this process. The Court proceeds with the request of bifurcation of the legal status only when the requirement of proof of service of the preliminary declaration of disclosure has been fulfilled by both spouses.

To grant the bifurcation to spouses, a court will impose several conditions. There are several possible conditions that a Judge may impose. The first is where one spouse is held harmless from any taxes associated with property division that would not have been imposed if the marriage was intact at the time property was divided. Another possible condition can be where a Judge orders medical and/or health insurance coverage for a spouse and their minor children aswhen they were covered under insurance if the marriage had not ended. In addition to this, a Court may hold one spouse harmless during a loss of rights to the probate family allowance as the surviving spouse. One possible condition is when spouses are freed from consequences that may impact the retirement rights, survivor benefits and rights or any deferred compensation, or social security benefits. These are only a few of the possible conditions; a Judge may impose conditions as per the requirement of the case.

Are you struggling with a divorce matter or want to request bifurcation? Doppelt and Forney, APLC can help you find solutions to your family law matters. A team of experienced family law professionals [consisting of attorney, paralegals and other staff] will assist you at their best. Whether its alimony, child custody, asset division, or requesting bifurcation, you can discuss your matters with an experienced family law attorney. They will do their best to help you free yourself from the divorce stress!

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