The date of separation in a California divorce plays an important role in many family law cases. It can be the difference between whether or not an asset is community versus separate property and whether a marriage is of a long duration such that spousal support may continue indefinitely until death or remarriage or a short-term marriage where spousal support may cut off at the “half the duration of the marriage” mark. In this article we will discuss how the date of separation in a California divorce is determined and what factors the family law court would take the consideration when he or she decides your date of separation.
In California, a date of separation occurs when either the husband or the wife does not intend to continue the marriage and either of their actions are consistent with a final breakup in the marital relationship. Separation does not occur simply because there was a fight or even if one spouse temporarily moves out. The problems must be significant enough to impair the marital relationship such that there isn’t a reasonable possibility of eliminating or resolving the issues that caused the breakdown.
The Orange County family law court, like most California divorce courts, typically looks at each spouse’s living situation and whether or not the two of them are truly separated. Some of the factors the family court takes into consideration include whether the spouses continue to live under the same roof, continue to hold themselves out to the public including family and friends as married or separated, continue to merge their finances and support each other, file joint or separate income taxes, engage in sexual intercourse with each other, date others and, in general, whether their private conduct is consistent with a couple of people who have had a final and complete break in their marital relationship.
When the issue of date of separation is litigated, the facts are everything. If the facts show, for example, that the husband and wife continue to eat dinner together at the family home, maintain a mailing address, engage in social events including vacations, and continue to behave consistent with a married couple, no amount of testimony that by the one trying to persuade the Orange County family court he or she intended something different will likely persuade the court.
Some cases have the unusual facts of a husband and wife who have more than one date of separation and therefore separation period. This happens when a husband and wife separate from each other and meet the factual test for the definition but then reconcile for a period of time, only to separate again. These types of cases are especially complicated because the decision that has to be made is whether or not there was only one date of separation, which is typically the last one, or whether or not to was more than one instance of the parties being separated from each other and therefore properties acquired during the various separation periods are or are not separate property.
When the data of separation in your California divorce case can mean the difference between a long-term or short-term marriage or whether or not a significant asset or debt is community or separate, care you must taken to ensure you gather all the facts and hire an experienced Orange County family law attorney.
Our law firm is skilled in litigating date of separation cases and we have had great success in prevailing in such Orange County cases even without a formal hearing or a trial. Many of these date of separation cases, once all of the facts are gathered, settle and do not proceed to hearing.
Do you have an Orange County family law case with the date of separation an issue? Is it the difference between a long-term marriage and a short one? Don’t stress. Hire our experienced law firm to represent you. Contact our Orange County family law attorneys for a free consultation.