Why Your Date of Separation is Important

Photo of two people ignoring each other

There are many specific dates and times that are important during the divorce process; many divorcing couples are usually the most concerned with the date when their divorce is officially final. However, the date of separation is equally, if not more, important. When one spouse decides that the marriage is officially over, the courts will use that date as a significant factor in deciding divorce issues relating to child support, property division, adultery, and alimony.

What is the Date of Separation?

The date of separation generally is the date that spouses officially no longer live together as a married couple. This usually first occurs when one spouse moves out of the marital home with the intent to end the marriage. Sometimes, the moving out process isn’t immediate, usually because of financial reasons. In these cases, the judge will look for other evidence and key points during the separation in order to determine the date. There are other ways a spouse can prove the date of separation; they could use the date that he or she moved into a separate room, temporarily stayed at a friend’s house, when he or she filed for divorce, or when he or she hired an attorney. If a spouse moved out of the house without the intent of divorce, the judge will have to look at other evidence as well.

What Does the Date of Separation Affect?

The separation date will affect income and property division for both parties. In most states, including California, any income that a spouse earns during the marriage is marital or “joint” property. However, any income that was earned after their date of separation will be their own separate income and property. Other types of property that were acquired during the marriage, such as a home, cars, or a boat, will still be considered joint property. For example, if a couple buys a home before separation, the home will be considered joint or community property and will be divided fairly or 50/50 under California community property state laws.

Our San Diego, California divorce attorneys have knowledge in divorce and separation laws, and can help you through this difficult time. Contact us today for a free consultation.