Bifurcation of divorce allows spouses to become legally divorced before the divorce details have been finalized.
The option to remarry is the most common use of bifurcation; however, some couples seek a bifurcation to distinguish between marriage or pre-marriage property.
In states that permit bifurcation, the court will handle the end of the marriage separately from the other divorce matters to permit the parties to remarry while providing additional time to resolve the remaining issues. This means all other resolutions such as child custody, visitation, support, distribution of property, and attorney fees are determined at a later date.
Individual states such as Texas, New York, Michigan, and Arizona do not allow bifurcation in divorce cases. Even if you are living in Massachusetts, if you were married in a state that does not allow bifurcation, it will not be granted, and all issues of the divorce must be resolved before the divorce is finalized and the couple can claim legal single status.
The process of bifurcation generally requires the filing of legal documents; however, both parties must agree to a bifurcated divorce before a court will grant one. There is an exception to this if the requesting party shows good legal cause for bifurcation and the court agrees that the action would not jeopardize the interests of the other party.
You should consult with a knowledgeable attorney before taking any action, as there are certain restrictions in place that can affect the process in various ways.