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How Does the Date of Separation Impact a Divorce Case in California?Under California divorce laws, the date of separation is the date the court recognizes as the final day of a marriage. In many circumstances, the date of separation can have a big impact on a divorce case, including property division and spousal support.

Date of Separation and Property Division

The date of separation is very important when it comes to the division of property after a divorce. The separation date will be used to determine whether a property is community (it belongs to you both) or separate (it belongs to just one of you). Any property or debts acquired after your marriage, but before the date of separation is usually considered to be community property. Any money earned or debt acquired after the date of separation is typically considered to be a spouse’s separate property.

Date of Separation and Spousal Support

Length of marriage is one of the factors a judge considers when determining spousal support. Generally, the longer a marriage lasted, the longer spousal support will last. This makes the date of separation important in deciding how long a marriage lasted and how long a spouse may be entitled to spousal support payments.

Determining Your Date of Separation

How do you determine your date of separation? This can sometimes be difficult, especially if your spouse or domestic partner’s opinion on the date of separation differs from yours.

The state of California defines the date of separation as the date:

  • One spouse expressed to the other spouse their intent to end the marriage, or.
  • The conduct of the spouse(s) is consistent with the intent to end the marriage.

Examples can include the day:

  • You told your spouse you wanted a divorce or legal separation
  • You moved into a separate residence
  • You and your spouse began sleeping separately
  • You and your spouse separated your money and finances
  • You and your spouse started doing things apart, such as going on separate vacations

Emails, text messages, or letters where you and your partner discuss separation or an income tax return that lists your marital status as “single” can be used to establish a date of separation.

Need Help Establishing a Date of Separation? Speak to an Experienced Family Law Attorney in Ontario CA

As you can see, the established date of separation can have a big impact on a divorce case. If you’re not sure about your date of separation and how it might impact your financial situation, the California State Court recommends you speak with a family law attorney.

Ontario, CA family law attorney Torrence L. Howell has been guiding clients through the state’s often complex divorce process for more than 20 years. As a leading family law attorney in Ontario, CA, he understands the importance of a separation date and how it affects your case. If there are disagreements as to the exact date of separation, Torrence can help you collect the evidence you’ll need to establish an accurate date of separation.

Contact the law offices of Torrence L. Howell through our website or call us at (909) 920-0908 to schedule a free initial consultation with an Ontario, CA family law attorney to discuss your divorce case.