Appeals: Bifurcated Issues

Journal Categories

The Family Law Prof Blog posts Case Law Development: Bifurcating Judgment Precludes Appeal:

A recent inquiry from a reader asked whether bifurcated judgments in divorce actions may be separately appealed. Here is at least one court's answer...
Rather than simply enter temporary orders, a divorce court will sometimes bifurcate a divorce judgment, granting divorce or child custody for example, and reserving judgment of financial issues pending more factual development or hearings. However, the Illinois court has held that such a bifurcated judgment is not final for purposes of appeal. In this case, the trial judge entered a judgment of dissolution, divided the marital property, granted sole custody of the children to petitioner, set child support of $1,306.95 a month, and barred respondent from receiving maintenance. However, it "reserved" the issues of visitation, the children's post-high-school educational expenses, and petitioner's maintenance. Raising the issue sua sponte, the Illinois Court of Appeals held that "The reservation of issues here deprives us of jurisdiction over this appeal." -- No bifurcating appeals.
Mardjetko v. Mardjetko, 2007 Ill. App. Lexis 3 (January 5, 2007)
Opinion on the web (last visited January 15, 2007 bgf)

I had asked Professor Barbara Glesner Fines, Ruby M. Hulen Professor of Law, University of Missouri Kansas City to keep a "heads up" for cases that may give insight on whether issues may be bifurcated on a motion for discretionary review, so that some issues could be remanded to the trial court for a new trial while others go up on issues of law to a state's highest court. I very much appreciate her keeping this on her radar.

Share this

This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be considered to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer-client relationship. Persons accessing this site are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding their individual legal issues.
© Diana L. Skaggs + Partners, PLLC · 623 W. Main Street · Louisville, KY · 40202 · Tel: (502) 562-0050 · Fax: (502) 582-3523