If a couple has not been able to reach a final agreement on division of property but one of them is really anxious to get the divorce finalized, maybe because they’re planning a remarriage, is it possible to finalize a divorce without having an agreement regarding property? If it is possible, are there any pros and cons to doing that?
Is it possible to finalize a divorce without having a property agreement?
A lot of people are anxious to be single for one reason or another. It may be because you want to get remarried, or just the psychological effects of being legally single and not married to that person any longer really impacts the pace of the case. It is possible to terminate your marital status, meaning that you’re able to restore yourself to the status of a single person.
After six months and a day, you can file a motion for bifurcation of marital status. What that means is, marital status can be bifurcated or separated from the other issues that are pending in your divorce case. Prior to the division of assets or the determination of custody or support, or other issues concerning your case, you can bifurcate or separate the issue of marital status so that you can be restored to the status of a single person.
With that, if the property division has not been effectuated or other issues have not been settled in your case, the court may require and usually does require that certain conditions are set forth in the judgement of termination of marital status. What that means is, the non-requesting spouse, meaning the spouse who is not asking to terminate the marital status at that time, is protected financially.
The person who’s requesting to terminate marital status early, before the determination of the other issues, will basically indemnify the other spouse financially against anything that could happen because of the termination of marital status. If there are adverse financial effects on the non-requesting spouse, the person who’s requesting the termination of marital status will indemnify that person.
There are probably 10 or more conditions that the court will impose upon the requesting party, but you can terminate marital status early, before the determination of other issues.
Ann A. Thomson is a family lawyer practicing in Seal Beach, California. She serves clients throughout the Orange County and Southern California area.