Appeals: Bifurcated Issues

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…

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.

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