December 18, 2010

Can Custody Be Decided Before The Rest Of My Divorce?

Some Oregon divorce clients ask about getting a final resolution on custody before completing the resolution of other issues (like property division and support).  ORS 107.105(1)(a) provides in part that the court ” may hold a hearing to decide the custody issue prior to any other issues.”  This procedure, called “bifurcation,” is usually done by agreement or court order.  For example, if the issue of custody and parenting time has been decided in mediation, the parties can permanently resolve the custody issue while still working on the rest of the case.  Bifurcation is uncommon, however, if having a final resolution on custody before the remainder of the issues is important to you, discuss the advisability of this process with your attorney.