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Can I get married to someone else before my divorce is finalized? Is this done through a bifurcation of marital status?

Believe it or not the answer is yes.  A person can technically get married to someone else before their divorce is officially finalized.

In California the Divorce Laws allow for the parties in a marriage to bifurcate their marital status before the divorce is actually finalized.  What this means is that the parties can get a court to end their marriage as early as six months into the divorce but reserve the remaining divorce issues for a later time.   This allows a person to remarry even though the property, child custody, etc issues are not yet finalized.

Bifurcation of marital status is relatively common and seemingly straightforward.  However, it is only allowed after six months have passed from the time the divorce papers were served on the party who did not start the divorce.  It cannot be done any earlier than that because California requires a six month cooling off period.

The procedure is quite straight forward. A motion for bifurcation of marital status is filed with the court requesting the end of the marriage and outlining the reasons why.  The motion informs the court that the minimum time has passed and all the prerequisite documents have been exchanged with the other party and/or filed with the Court.  The motion can be a joint motion by both parties or it can be filed independently by one party.

There is only one complexity with the filing for bifurcation of marital status.  In Orange County the Family Law Judges are hesitant to approve a bifurcation of marital status when there is an employee benefit issue that remains unresolved. This is when there is a 401K or other employee benefit plan that needs to be distributed.

In such a situation the Orange County Divorce Judges will want to make sure that no such issue exists or if it does they will likely want the employer managing the benefit plan to be joined as a party to the divorce.  This complicates the issue but in the hands of a knowledgeable Orange County Divorce Attorney it can be handled with relative ease.

You can read the Family Code that governs the bifurcation of marital status by clicking on Family Code 2337.

To learn more about this topic or other divorce and family law issues visit the Core Law Group blog at www.www.corelawgroup.com/blog or call one of Core Law Group’s Orange County Divorce attorneys at 949-505-2479.