Should I Stay or Should I Go? Date of Separation Laid to Rest

One of the first questions a divorce lawyer will ask you when you come in for your initial consultation is ‘What is your date of separation?’

Why is date of separation so important anyhow?

The “date of separation” can have a significant impact on your rights/obligations in your divorce proceeding. The Court is tasked with dividing equally your community assets and debts. The date of separation marks the end date of the accumulation of community assets and debts. For example, after you “separate” you no longer continue to accrue a share of your spouse’s retirement and you are not responsible for credit card debt incurred by the other party after that date. Additionally, once you have ‘separated’ within the meaning of California Family Law, your earnings are no longer considered community (joint) property. The date of separation also determines the length of marriage, which can have major impact on your spousal support obligation/entitlement as the length of marriage is one of the guiding posts for determining the length of spousal support.

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