Can I get a divorce now but settle property issues later?

Sometimes there are compelling reasons couples can’t resolve all of the issues in their case in a timely manner, and the Court will allow for certain issues to be “reserved” and for the parties to still get divorced. This is called a bifurcated divorce–when the court enters the judgment for dissolution of marriage but reserves the custody and/or financial issues for later determination.

Courts in Illinois have the ability to enter a bifurcated divorce upon the agreement of the parties or motion by one of the parties and a finding by the court that appropriate circumstances exist. However, courts are generally reluctant to grant bifurcated judgments when they have jurisdiction over both spouses. The reason is that many potential problems could arise between the time the judgment is entered and the time the other issues are resolved. Asset values may change or the assets may disappear entirely after the date of judgment.

Any party eager to get divorce and contemplating agreeing to a bifurcated divorce should thoroughly assess all of the potential complications that could come down the road. Provided there are relatively few complications and entanglements, it may be a viable option or upon filing a motion, the court may allow for it.

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