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What is a Motion to Grant Divorce and Decide Other Issues Later?
In some situations the court will grant a divorce but save other issues (such as child custody, child support, property division, and alimony) to be resolved later. This process is called bifurcation. This can allow the parties to remarry sooner, but means it could take longer to resolve other issues.
Either party can ask the court to bifurcate the case by filing a Motion to Grant Divorce and Decide Other Issues Later.
Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 42.
Grounds for bifurcation
In their motion, the party asking the court to grant the divorce and decide other issues later must explain why:
- granting the divorce and deciding other issues later would be more convenient to the parties,
- not granting the divorce immediately could result in harm, and
- deciding other issues later would not harm or "prejudice" the parties.
Will the motion be decided by a judge or commissioner?
Judges may rule on all motions in all types of cases. However, in Judicial Districts 1, 2, 3 and 4, commissioners are assigned to hear most matters in divorce cases. Motions decided by a judge and motions decided by a commissioner follow different procedures.
Motions decided by a judge are governed by URCP 7. A judge will not rule on a motion until the time for filing an opposition to the motion has passed and a Request to Submit for Decision has been filed.
Motions decided by a commissioner are governed by URCP 101.
See the Motions web page for information about the difference in procedures and timelines depending on who is deciding the motion.
If the parties agree about the motion and file a stipulated motion or a stipulation, the motion could be granted without a hearing.
After the motion is decided
If the judge or commissioner denies the motion, the parties can continue through the divorce process.
If the judge or commissioner grants the motion, the moving party must file the following documents for the judge's review and signature:
- Affidavit of Jurisdiction and Grounds for Divorce
- Findings of Fact Conclusions of Law
- Divorce Decree
These forms are not available on this page. Please contact the Self-Help Center for help with this process.
Once the judge signs the divorce decree, the parties are divorced. Even if the judge grants the Order on Motion to Grant Divorce and Decides Other Issues Later, the parties are not divorced until the judge signs the divorce decree.
The parties will still need to resolve the remaining issues in their case through settlement or trial.
Settling the case or going to trial on the remaining issues
If the judge or commissioner grants the motion, the parties can be divorced but must still continue through the court process to resolve any remaining issues (such as child custody, child support, property division, and alimony).
To resolve remaining issues, the parties may need to attend mediation. If the parties are unable to resolve issues related to child custody, either party may request a child custody evaluation.
If the parties are unable to reach an agreement on their own or in mediation, either party can ask the court to schedule a pre-trial conference and proceed to trial.
Information about filing documents in existing cases by email
What forms you need depend on whether your case is before a commissioner or a judge.