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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Date of Separation and Why It Matters in California

So why does it matter? Short answer: California is a community property state. In California, the date of separation determines the end of the community.
The date of separation matters in division of property and in spousal support.
For example, John and Jane Smith marry 1/1/2000. They separate 12/31/2000.
Jane wins the lottery on 12/31/00. John wins the lottery on 1/1/01.
According to Family Code section 771, which states, "a) The earnings and accumulations of a spouse and the minor children living with, or in the custody of, the spouse, while living
separate and apart from the other spouse, are the separate property of the spouse. "
SO...Jane's lotto winnings are community, and John's are NOT.
For example, John and Jane Smith marry 1/1/00. John moves out 12/31/07, into his own apartment with his girlfriend and remained living with his girlfriend up through the date of trial.
John filed for divorce 1/1/2010.

Although John did not sleep in the family residence, he maintained continual and frequent contacts with Jane and children, including dinner every night in 2008 and 2009. John also maintained his mailing address at the family residence. John also took Jane on 2 trips in 2008. John also took Jane to social functions, friends’ homes, dinners for professional and academic groups, etc. in 2008 and 2009. John also sent Jane numerous Christmas, birthday and anniversary cards, including at least one card, in which John said he loved Jane. John and Jane continued to file joint tax returns and John paid all the household bills. John even brought his laundry home every week and Jane would wash and iron it. John and Jane did not have sex after 12/31/07. At all times during the period of physical separation prior to filing the Petition, Jane maintained she “desired” a reconciliation.
When was the date of separation?
Those are the exact facts of the case of In Re Marriage of Baragry (1977), 73 Cal.App.3d 444. The Court held that the date of separation was 1/1/10, the date of the filing of divorce.
The critical inquiry is whether the parties' conduct evidences a complete and final break in the marriage relationship.
For this, the Court uses a two-prong test to determine the date of separation: Objective and Subjective.

1. Objective Test
To answer the objective test, the court will determine when you started living apart from each other. That usually happens when one of you moves out of the family home. In today’s tough economic times, however, that is no longer an option for some, because it often is too expensive to maintain two separate residences. Even if spouses are still living in the same home, there are ways to ensure physical separation.

As California Courts put it, “Our conclusion does not necessarily rule out the possibility of some spouses living apart physically while still occupying the same dwelling. In such cases, however, the evidence would need to demonstrate unambiguous, objectively ascertainable conduct amounting to a physical separation under the same roof. (Marriage of Norviel) If this is a concern for you, you should always consult an attorney for more information.

2. Subjective Test
Physical separation is not enough to show that you separated. Some people are living separate from each other for extended periods but do not intend to end their marriage. That intent is the subjective part the court will consider. At what point did one or both of you think that the marriage was over? When did you decide that you no longer wanted to stay married? In essence, the court will look at your conduct toward each other to see when the marriage “ended.”

Please note: Marriage counseling is usually a good indicator that you are NOT intending to separate.


Jeromey said...

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Elison Duncan said...

A best information regarding separation details to get peaceful life. There are one of the great to matters happen in California.

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