Date Of Separation In California Divorce : What You Should Know

Date Of Separation In California Divorce : What You Should Know

Hi, Tim Blankenship here with, been talking a lot about dates of separation in the last podcast.

I just talked about different ideas that you can use for the date of separation, most of the time our clients are in agreement to the date of separation but in this podcast, I want to talk about what is the significance of the date of the separation and I’m reading off an attorney’s website because I don’t like to give legal advice but I do want to share this information with you.

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So, let me share this, it says California uses a date of separation as the essential date for determining property interests, property acquired by a spouse after the date of separation is considered to be that spouses separate property, while property acquired before the date of separation is community property.

So, in plain English what that means is before the marriage anything you acquired is separate, during the marriage everything you acquired is community property, subject to division by the courts. So, the issues become people say Tim we don’t have anything in each other’s names, so we don’t have any property to divide.

In the state of California, they don’t look at whose name it’s in, they look at the date of acquisition of the asset or debt. So, like my wife and I, she can have her own bank accounts and pensions, and I can have mine totally separate, never shared, never anything even I can buy the car in my name and she does not appear anywhere on the car, at all on the title or the loan but it’s still community property, she still has an interest in that property.

Another example is with this business of mine, while she is not part of it, doesn’t work in it most of the time or at all, she has her own thing, she has a community property and it’s an interest in my business because it was started during the marriage and it made money during the marriage, so that’s how that works.

Now the significance of the date of separation is that once you file and you indicate a date of separation, that’s the line in the sand for the community property interest, so a lot of times there can be, and not with us most of our clients do agree on a date of separation but where parties disagree usually is around, you know when they’re getting close to the 10 year mark and they know they may have to pay spouse support for a longer period of time, or in the accrual of say community properties, such as pensions or so forth.

I’ll give you an example, if 1 party said well the date of separation was 2 years ago and the spouse is saying no the date of separation is last month, there’s what almost 2 years of additional acquisition or 2 more years of accrual of community property in the other parties with the pensions, meaning they would get more money if the date of separation was pushed closer to the future, or not the future but to today, to current times.

So if that happens there are tests that can be looked at in determining and again, we don’t deal with that too much in our office, it’s usually agreed upon but it can be full trials in court and divorce can be held over the issue of the date of separation because like I was saying it can be a big difference in the amount of community property one is awarded, it can also be a huge difference in as far as the length of marriage going over 10 years, where someone is trying to get support for an indefinite period of time as opposed to half the length of the marriage.

So, I’m not going to get into the exact details of the objective tests versus the subject tests because we don’t deal with that too much, but that’s something you can look at.

You can always give me a call if you have questions about determining the date of separation or read the article and listen to the podcast that I wrote on trying to figure out what an applicable date of separation would be.

In most cases, 90 percent of the time, it’s going to be obvious both of you will agree. It’s only in cases where one party is trying to establish a shorter period of time for purposes of financial gain.

Tim Blankenship,, hope that was helpful. Give us a call we do handle divorce cases throughout California, go to or give me a call at 661 281 0266 and we’ll talk to you soon.