In family law, the date of separation is a very significant date for two reasons. Most of the time, a couple will not be granted a divorce until they have been separated for one year. The other reason is that the debts and asset of a divorcing couple are generally divided based on the value they had on the date of separation.
The date of separation is used to take a snapshot of the couples’ financial picture. That snapshot is used as the basis for dividing their debts and assets. This keeps bitter spouses from running up jointly held debts and to
There are no hard and fast rules about what date gets used. In some cases, it is crystal clear, like when a spouse learns the other has been unfaithful and moves out right away. In some situations, the couple may have stutter-stepped their way to separation, with multiple break ups and reconciliations.
In practical terms, the date of separation can have a huge impact on property division. Anyone who follows the stock market knows that over the course of one month, or even one day, the value of your assets can change significantly.
Consider this example: one spouse has a credit card in their name only but they use it to buy groceries for the family, clothes for the kids and tend to pay it off each month. Over the course of the next six months, they develop a taste for eating out at fancy restaurants and run up $20,000 on the card. Whether that $20,000 debt is split between the couple or the responsibility of only one depends in large part on the date of separation.
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Peter G. Duke - Associate Lawyer
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