Author: Andrew Klausner, CFLS
You are looking at the Petition for Dissolution (or you are reading the Petition you just received from your spouse) and you see the paragraph asking for your “Date of Separation.”
“Date of Separation” is a legal term of art under California law, and over the past few years, there have been some attempts by the Courts and the legislature to address this incredibly important issue. Regardless of what you may have heard about “living under the same roof” or “that Marriage of Davis case,” the current state of the law is defined by California Family Code Section 70.
Family Code Section 70(a) defines “date of separation” as:
… The date that a complete and final break in the marital relationship has occurred, as evidenced by both of the following:
(1) The spouse has expressed to the other spouse his or her intent to end the marriage;
(2) The conduct of the spouse is consistent with his or her intent to end the marriage.
Family Code Section 70(b) provides that “In determining the date of separation, the court shall take into consideration all relevant evidence.”
So, that is what the “Date of Separation” is, but what does that mean, and why does it matter?
The Date of Separation, once determined by agreement or Court Order, is the end date of the marital community. For example, any earnings or accumulations of a spouse after the date of separation of the spouses is the separate property of that spouse. The length of the marriage, when calculating whether, and for what amount of time spousal support (alimony) is to be paid is determined by the length of time from the date of the marriage to the date of separation. The responsibility for bills and expenses, the right to reimbursement from the other spouse for payments against those bills and expenses, and determining what portion of each spouse’s pension or retirement is directly affected by the date of separation.
In short, determining your date of separation is crucial.
If you are interested in a consultation with one of our attorneys, please contact SKT Law directly.
Investing in a skilled Family Law Attorney can make all the difference in your life, so choosing a Law Firm and Lawyer with a great reputation and sterling credentials is paramount to your future family life. Whether you are filing for a divorce, or fighting for child custody, assets, or a business, your case will have a higher chance to result in your favor, if you learn how to work with your Legal Team so they can use their time and skills to best serve your needs. Here are some tips to help you have a positive experience with your Family Law Attorney.
Invest in Your Lawyer’s Time Wisely
Keep in mind you are paying for your Lawyer’s time. Whether they are filling out documents, researching, or putting together an argument, you don’t want to distract them or take their focus off the overall strategy and fine points of your case. For example, many people try to use their Lawyer as a therapist, especially in family law cases. If you feel that you need to talk to someone about your anger or any other feelings, your Lawyer is not that person. Give your Legal Counsel space to perform the tasks directly related to your case so that they can assure that you are in the best possible position to achieve your goals.
Think and Plan Ahead
We often see that clients want to get high quality services quickly and at a cheap price. The reality is that this is virtually impossible. If you put a rush on things, you will most likely end up paying more money in the long run. For example, imagine you call on a Monday morning and ask for a contract by the following evening. Chances are, in cases like this, a Senior Attorney will be the one to draft up the contract simply because of the limitations in time allotted for the task. If more time was given, the work could have been delegated to an Associate Attorney who can perform these tasks at a lower billing rate.
Give Immediate Updates and Developments
If something changes or new information becomes available that is or may be related to your case, let your Legal Team know immediately. If something crucial is developing, your Attorney can identify the relevance and urgency, and designate actions as necessary. Giving timely notice of updates and developments will give your Lawyer the needed time to gather with their team and plan a course of action, if required.
Follow Through on Your End
In many cases your legal counsel will give you assignments pertinent that will help them fight and build your case. This could be anything from collecting a digital recording of text messages or phone calls between you and the other party, obtaining credit card purchase histories, authorizing the release of information from a doctor, etc. The sooner you can complete tasks and back to your Counsel with what they need to proceed, the better and more efficient the case can be run and the chances for you to get everything you expect and deserve will increase.Read More