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When Spouses Are Considered Separated for Purposes of Divorce

In divorce proceedings, spouses need to identify their separation date in order to resolve important issues such as marital assets and debts and the duration of spousal support. As a rule, assets acquired and earned as well as debts incurred during the marriage are deemed marital and must be divided equally between the parties. On the other hand, spouses do not share in one another’s non-marital assets and liabilities.

While divorcing couples can agree about the date of separation, in many situations involving high conflict and high asset divorces, the separation date can be a contentious matter.

Rule in the Davis Case

In previous years, parties in California who disagreed about the date of separation looked to the courts for interpretation of the Family Code provisions. The latest decision of the California Supreme Court in the case of In Re Marriage of Davis determined the date of actual physical separation of the parties as the separation date even when the parties no longer treated one another as husband and wife and only shared the same home due to financial constraints.

New Anti-Davis Legislation

A new law (SB 1255) that took effect starting this year changed that by defining the date of separation as the time of the “complete and final break in the marital relationship” as established by the expression of intent to separate and the conduct of the spouses. Further, the court should consider all relevant evidence in arriving at a conclusion on the date of separation.

Get Legal Help

If you are contemplating separation or divorce, your next steps can significantly affect the outcome of your divorce proceedings. Consult an experienced family law attorney before making important decisions or entering into any settlement agreement. Your divorce lawyer can help you understand the divorce process and relevant divorce laws, provide crucial legal advice on your next steps in order to minimize the financial impact of separation and to obtain the best outcome in your situation.

Contact the family law firm of the Law Office of Landon V. Villavaso in Mission Viejo, California. Our firm has extensive experience in divorce cases and other relevant matters arising from couples’ separation such as child custody, child support, and spousal support. Our attorneys are prepared to fight for your rights so that you can focus on moving on and starting a new chapter in your lives. Call us today at (949) 257-5188 to learn more about how we can help you.

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