Date of Separation

The date of separation marks a critical point in every divorce case because it marks the end of the marital economic community. Community property may only be acquired during the marital economic community, which exists between the date of marriage and the date of separation. Therefore, after the date of separation, all earnings, accumulations and income of both parties will generally remain his or her separate property.

At the onset of your case, one of our experienced attorneys will meet with you to discuss possible dates of separation. The date is dependent on the specific facts of your marriage and divorce. In order for the marital economic community to end upon a particular date, two requirements must be met. First there must be a physical separation of the parties meaning that they live "separate and apart". Second, at least one spouse must not intend to resume the marital relationship. Once the physical separation and the intent not to resume a marital relationship both simultaneously exist, the date of separation occurs. It is important to note that California courts have held that the date od separation can occur while parties are living under the same roof.  Living in different residences is not required to effectuate a date of separation.  Reconciliation may affect the date of separation. Therefore it is important to consider the legal consequences of both separation and reconciliation on property division.

Many factors will be considered in determining a date of separation that evidences a final breakdown of the marriage. Among them are considerations such as, each spouse’s home and whether they are living separate and apart, the conduct of the spouses, what the spouses communicate with each other, how they changed marital habits and duties, and how they have begun to disentangle their finances. If you would like more information on determining your date of separation and the legal effect of this date, please refer to our blog on date of separation.

What if you and your spouse cannot agree on a date of separation? We can provide you with information and guide you through your options. We have expert consultants available if needed to help you prepare for dissolution. If negotiations with your spouse fail, our team of experienced attorneys is prepared to litigate your case and protect your rights.

If you wish to schedule a consultation with Certified Family Law Specialists Nancy J. Bickford or Shannon B. Miles, call us at (858) 793-8884.