An earlier post recognized the role of a request for bifurcation in a California divorce proceeding; here we will discuss the legal requirements that must precede a request to the court for bifurcation. In California:
- Six months or more must have passed since the non-petitioning spouse, or respondent, was served with the Petition For Dissolution.
- If one spouse includes the other spouse for medical/health insurance, this coverage must continue. If that is not possible, the spouse requesting bifurcation must pay the other spouse’s medical expenses.
- If the spouse not filing for bifurcation should incur any tax consequences as result of the bifurcation, the requesting spouse must reimburse the other for those costs.
- Should either spouse have an employee retirement plan or pension, they are required to pay the other spouse a monetary amount as compensation for loss of death benefits from such a plan (as a result of the impending divorce).
- Perhaps most important is the requirement for the completion of service to the other party of the Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure. This will include a complete Schedule of Assets and Debts and the Income and Expense Declaration. This information is absolutely essential to the request, as it ostensibly lays bare all assets and property of the marriage. In instances where one spouse suspects that the other is hiding assets or income, forensic investigation may be required before any further action by the court can take place.
Though this somewhat abbreviated description of bifurcation may sound frustratingly complex, bifurcation itself may provide benefits not just to one, but to both parties in a divorce. As always, the content of this blog is intended not as legal advice, but only for information and/or discussion purposes. Should you have questions or concerns about how California family law may apply to you, you may wish to consult a knowledgeable family law attorney.
As Orange County’s premier family law specialists, the attorneys at Dinnebier & Demmerle can provide answers to your questions and concerns, clarify and establish your legal rights, and represent you in court. If you would like more information about bifurcation, its requirements or benefits, or any other aspect of California family law, please call to set up a consultation. We’re ready to move forward when you are. Just contact us in Tustin at 714-598-3714.