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What is the Date of Separation in a California Divorce?

There are frequently disagreements regarding the date of separation in a California divorce. At Brown & Charbonneau, LLP, our Southern California divorce attorneys can help you to try to establish the date of separation so you can protect your property interests. Give us a call to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help you.

In California, property that you acquire over the course of your marriage is community property. This means that each spouse is entitled to a 50-50 share of all property owned and acquired together as a married couple, regardless of who paid for or purchased the items. What is the Date of Separation in a California Divorce?

Because everything acquired during marriage must be shared, the date of separation in a California divorce is very important when property is divided. Starting on the date of separation, anything acquired by either spouse is considered to be separate rather than community property. This means that it belongs to the spouse who acquired it and does not need to be divided when the marriage is dissolved.

What is the Date of Separation in a California Divorce?

You and your spouse may agree on the date of separation in a California divorce. If you both decide that a particular date is the time when you separated and no longer wished to be living as a married couple acquiring community property, the date you agree on will likely be considered the relevant date by the court.

If you disagree, however, then a determination must be made about the date of separation.  There are two tests that the court may look at to determine what the relevant date is. The first test is an objective one that looks at exactly when you started living independently and separately as opposed to living as husband and wife.   If one spouse moved out of the family home, the court will consider the date when that person left in determining the date of separation in a California divorce.

The second test is a subjective one. Simply living apart in separate homes does not automatically mean you are legally separated since some married couples live in different places without the intent to dissolve their union.  This means the date that someone physically left is not determinative. In the subjective test, the court considers when one or both spouses thought that the marriage was over. To determine what each spouse was thinking about the future of their union, the court look like at the spouses’ conduct towards each other.

Proving your date of separation in a California divorce can be complicated, especially since many couples continue to live together even after they have decided they no longer wish to stay married because of economic reasons. The cost of property in Irvine is expensive and you may not be able to afford to have one spouse move out during a divorce, even once the couple is committed to ending the marriage.

It is important to correctly establish the date of separation in a California divorce so you can protect your property rights. Call Brown & Charbonneau, LLP today at 714-505-3000 for help with your divorce case. Our Southern California family lawyers can help you to try to convince the court that the day you believe you separated is the time when your property should officially be considered separate.