The date of separation and its effect on your divorce

On Behalf of | Nov 4, 2022 | Divorce |

Deciding to divorce is likely one of the most difficult and painful choices you will ever have to make. As you start the divorce process, you will need to establish your date of separation.

What is the date of separation?

Your date of separation is the day you and your spouse agree that your marriage is over, or the date that one spouses clearly tells the other one that the marriage is over. Choosing this date may be more complex than you first realize.

If one of you is moving out, your date of separation can be the day that the move takes place. However, for some California couples, it is not this easy.

A date of separation can be determined through actions

Sometimes, a spouse may indicate the marriage is over through actions rather than words. After all, it can be hard to tell your spouse that you want to end the marriage.

Actions signifying an end to the marriage might be moving to another room of the home to sleep, ceasing all sexual relations or serving your spouse with a divorce petition.

Every case has its own unique set of circumstances, and it is not unusual for each spouse to have completely different opinions about the correct date of separation.

The effect on property division

You may wonder why the date of separation matters so much if you are going to eventually be divorced anyway. There are many ways the date of separation is important.

As part of your divorce, you will divide community property, which is property shared by you and your spouse.

Separate property is property that belongs to only one of you and is not divided as part of your divorce. Any property acquired after your date of separation is separate property.

The effect on spousal support

The date of separation also matters in terms of spousal support. One of the factors a court considers when ordering spousal support is the length of the marriage.

If you are seeking spousal support, a longer marriage can increase your chances of a favorable spousal support award.

Before choosing a date of separation, it might be helpful to talk to a family law attorney who can examine how the date may impact other issues in your divorce.