Under California law, courts are authorized to “bifurcate” or divide a divorce case into two parts. The first phase would address the status of the marriage (i.e., granting a judgment of divorce as to status only), and the second would tackle and resolve the remaining issues. Often, the outstanding matters are stickier and more complex, giving rise to disagreements between the spouses, thereby extending the process. But there are many ways to reduce the length and expense of a divorce case. An efficient and amicable divorce is in the best interests of all the parties involved. Separating spouses will save time, money, and emotional heartache if they are able to work out some of the more difficult issues to be resolved. One of the best ways to approach the legal intricacies of divorce is to consult with an experienced family law attorney who will work to protect your interests while moving the case along as swiftly as possible.
Parties who wish to proactively resolve issues surrounding their divorce may consider preparing a stipulated judgment. The stipulation (or agreement) may address the “status only” of the parties’ marriage, or it may also include matters of property division, child support and custody, and spousal support, among other things. In a recent California case, the couple signed a stipulated judgment dissolving their marriage. While the stipulation addressed the status only, it also contained language indicating that the couple planned to prepare another stipulation covering a myriad of other unresolved issues in their divorce.