What is a Bifurcated Divorce?

Divorce3What is a Bifurcated Divorce?

Bifurcation is the division of something into two parts. Most people have never heard of a bifurcated divorce until hearing it in relation to celebrity divorces in the news. One of the most famous bifurcated divorces was between Kim Kardashian and Kayne West. A bifurcated divorce allows you to split the division of property and assets from the legal end of your marriage. This option allows you to deal with the divorce settlement issues separately after you are already legally divorced. While it is not often utilized, a couple may opt for a bifurcated divorce in some instances.


Reasons for Bifurcated Divorce

North Carolina law allows for bifurcated divorce as long as you have a legitimate and valid reason. If both parties agree, the court will generally allow a bifurcated divorce. If only one party wants a bifurcated divorce, the court will hear the grounds and determine whether they will grant the request. Most commonly, a couple may request a bifurcated divorce in situations where there are disagreements regarding the settlement terms and the couple wants to move forward.


Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “How will the judge divide our property?”


One of the reasons this may be needed is when one or both parties wish to remarry. A spouse may request a bifurcated divorce in difficult situations where the other party is making it impossible to resolve settlement disputes or when they are using the divorce to blackmail the spouse. Another reason to seek a bifurcated divorce is when one party wants to file bankruptcy in the middle of a divorce that is not yet resolved.


Advantages of Bifurcation

There may be some advantages to resolving a divorce in two parts. One advantage is that by separating the divorce from the settlement you will be able to emotionally move on with your life, rather than keeping it on hold. A stalled divorce can also take a financial toll on couples. Sometimes couples may feel they are forced to resolve issues too quickly rather than sort things out over time. In these cases, a bifurcated divorce might be a solution to consider. Some couples may seek tax advantages by being able to file as single rather than married. It is best to speak to your divorce attorney to learn your options.



Disadvantages of Bifurcation

There are also some potential disadvantages to bifurcation. Some of the same factors that may be advantages for some might be disadvantages for others. Bifurcation means that you will be dealing with the settlement terms over a longer period of time. This could result in higher legal fees that accumulate over time. Couples who cannot resolve issues in a specific period of time may be unable to resolve them when they have additional time. Taking more time to complete the process could be more emotionally stressful for some people. When you extend the time to handle divorce issues, they could become more complex. If you have children, the lengthy settlement time could be more challenging for them as well as for you.


A bifurcated divorce is certainly not the norm, but it is a possible option that is available to some couples in North Carolina. To qualify, you must be a resident of the state for at least one year. To learn more about your divorce options, contact our legal team at Arnold & Smith, PLLC at (704) 370-2828 to request a consultation.




The family law practice group at Arnold & Smith, PLLC includes four Board-Certified Family Law specialists and one Child Welfare Law specialist, as well as several attorneys with many years of family law experience that are committed to providing a powerful voice to individuals facing the often-tumultuous issues in this area of law. The range of issues our family law clients may be facing include pre- and post-nuptial agreements; separation agreements; post-separation support; child support (both temporary and permanent); absolute divorce; divorce from bed and board; military divorce; equitable distribution of assets; child custody (both temporary and permanent); retirement benefits and divorce; alimony and spousal support; adoption; and emancipation. Because this area of the law is usually emotionally charged and complicated, the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC act with the utmost dedication to ensure that each client understands his or her options, and then act to achieve the best result possible for that client’s particular situation.



BIFURCATION | definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary

divorce | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute (cornell.edu)


Image Credit:

Download | FreeImages


See Our Related Video from our YouTube channel:



See Our Related Blog Posts:

What is Equitable Property Division in North Carolina Divorce?

What Happens to Small Business Debt in Divorce?

Contact Information