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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  Attorney with experience in family law.
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Can you bifurcate, sell home because foreclosure and

Customer Question

Can you bifurcate, sell home because foreclosure and dissolve marriage even if neither party has taken parenting class yet?
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 8 months ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

In a bifurcation, typically the marriage is dissolved, but property issues are resolved for later. It is possible, though, to ask the judge to enter the divorce and do the property distribution, reserving child custody and support issues for later. The judge might want at least one parent to take a parenting class before that's done. Usually, a judge will split the case in two when one party wants to remarry, and the law isn't really clear on other circumstances where bifurcation may be appropriate. If the only reason for bifurcating is to sell the house and avoid foreclosure, the spouses can instead file a Motion for Sale of Marital Home, asking the judge to allow them to sell the home before the divorce is final and either split any proceeds 50/50 or deposit the money into an escrow account to be divided later.

With that said, bifurcation isn't really favored by the courts. The law says a judge MAY bifurcate, not that he MUST. The parties must have an extraordinary reason for requesting the bifurcation, and must be able to show that it's in the best interests of the children to enter the divorce now and resolve custody/support issues later. That could be tough. Here is more information:

https://www.floridabar.org/divcom/jn/jnjournal01.nsf/Author/F05B0DFD766ABBEE85256C06006B314F

Another option is to file a Motion to Bifurcate or, in the Alternative, Sell Marital Home. That way, the judge will see what you're trying to do, review your reasons, and if he decides that birfurcation isn't appropriate at this time, it would still be possible to get an order allowing the sale of the home without having to file a new motion.

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