What is a bifurcated divorce?

A court may order the termination of the marriage of a husband and wife, while reserving the resolution of certain issues for a later time. This procedure is called a “bifurcated divorce.” When a bifurcated divorce is ordered, issues such as the division of the spouses’ property, child custody, and child support are decided at a separate trial or hearing, after the marriage is terminated.

A bifurcated divorce is usually ordered in cases in which one spouse wishes to remarry or file tax returns as a single taxpayer.

Are bifurcated divorces permitted in all states?

No. Some states prohibit bifurcated divorces. Other states do not expressly allow or prohibit bifurcated divorces. In some states, bifurcated divorces are preferred. In other states, bifurcated divorces are permitted only if both spouses consent to the bifurcation or the bifurcation is necessary for some specific reason.