On Monday, July 20, 2015, the California Supreme Court held that a couple must be living apart to be deemed separated. Now, as an “indispensable threshold requirement,” the parties must be living in separate residences when determining the date of separation in a divorce case.
This represents a major shift in the case law. Family law attorneys could previously argue that parties were separated while still living together. Parties may remain living together for many reasons (e.g., children, financial necessity). Now it may be impossible to argue in family court that the parties have “separated” in such cases.
The date of separation in your divorce case is a crucial piece of information. For spousal support or alimony, the length of the marriage relates to the length of support. Additionally, the determination of whether an asset or debt is community property depends, in part, on whether it was acquired during the marriage (i.e., before separation). You should contact an experienced family law attorney for assistance.
This blog was written by James J. Tiehm. James is a family law attorney at Family Law Center. He practices exclusively family law and serves the greater Sacramento area, including the counties of Sacramento, El Dorado, Placer, and Yolo. If you need assistance with your divorce, call James at (916) 488-5088 to schedule a consultation.