A bifurcation is a legal option that allows you to separate your divorce into two separate processes. The first stage legally ends the divorce while the second stage deals with settling divorce issues such as property division and spousal support. Some people like bifurcation because it allows them to get on with their lives while the other divorce issues are being determined, but it does have its disadvantages. Here are some of the potential complications of bifurcation:
Procrastination on Remaining Divorce Issues
Since the first part of your bifurcated divorce legally ends your divorce, it is easy to get lax with the remaining processes, and this will prolong your divorce even further. You may, consciously or unconsciously, find yourself postponing the negotiation and settlements of the remaining issues. Even if you don't do it, there is always a chance that your former partner may procrastinate on the remaining issues. This is why some people think it is wise to get the whole divorce process over once and for all instead of bifurcating it.
Increased Divorce Expenses
As probably explained, bifurcation divides your divorce into two main processes. This means you will have to pay your divorce lawyers and cater to divorce costs in at least two separate processes. Overall, this may be more expensive than paying the same costs for a single process. The costs are likely to be even higher if your spouse isn't too interested in the negotiations of the remaining contentious issues.
Loss of Ability to File Joint Tax Returns
If you are married, you have the option to file your tax returns jointly with your spouse or have each person file their own returns. Most couples find it beneficial to file a joint return. However, once you have bifurcated your divorce, you are legally divorced and lose the right to file joint returns. This may cost you considerable money in the long run, especially if the remaining divorce issues take a long time to resolve.
The Initial Court Maintains Jurisdiction over Your Divorce
Lastly, you should know that even though bifurcation separates your divorce into two stages, it is still essentially the same divorce. This means the same court that handles the first stage of the process has to handle the second stage of the process because it retains jurisdiction over your divorce. This means that even if you move out of state, you still have to come back to the original court for the rest of your divorce processes, and this can be expensive.
Contact a local divorce lawyer for more information and assistance.