Dispelling the Myth of Mandatory Separation Period Before Filing for Divorce

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Dispelling the Myth of Mandatory Separation Period Before Filing for Divorce


When it comes to divorce, there are many misconceptions and myths that can often cloud our understanding of the legal process. One of the most common myths is the belief that couples must be separated for a certain period of time before filing for divorce. However, in the state of California, this is simply not true.

No Mandatory Separation Period

Contrary to popular belief, there is no mandatory separation period before filing for divorce in California. As soon as you and your spouse come to the realization that your marriage is irreparable, you have the right to file for divorce. This means that you are not required to live separately or wait for a specific period of time.

The Date of Separation Dilemma

For couples who are still living together at the time of filing for divorce, the question of the date of separation often arises. Many clients ask, “What do we use as the date of separation if we are still living together?” In this situation, it is advisable to use a date that signifies the point at which you discussed divorce, or when you started living in separate rooms or on separate couches.

However, if no specific date can be identified, a common practice is to use the date that you hired your divorce attorney as the official date of service. This date serves the purpose of providing the court with a reference point to determine the duration of the marriage.

Living Together Post-Divorce

It may come as a surprise to many that even after getting divorced, couples can choose to continue living together. The court does not mandate that you must move out or prove that you have physically separated. In fact, there are numerous cases where couples decide to live together due to financial reasons.

With the rising cost of living, many couples find it more practical to share expenses such as mortgage payments. This is especially true in today’s real estate market, where interest rates and housing prices can make selling property a less favorable option. So, instead of going through the hassle of selling their home, these couples opt to split the mortgage and find a way to make their living situation work.


The misconception that there is a mandatory separation period before filing for divorce in California can lead to unnecessary delays and confusion. It is important to understand that there is no such requirement, and couples have the freedom to file for divorce as soon as they believe their marriage is irreparable.

Furthermore, the decision to live together or separate is entirely up to the couple involved. Whether it is due to financial considerations or simply a matter of personal choice, the court does not intervene or require proof of physical separation.

By debunking this common myth, we hope to provide clarity and empower individuals who may be considering divorce to take the necessary steps without any misconceptions holding them back.