Pasadena divorce law requires couples to list a date of separation when filing for divorce. The date must be listed on both the Petition for Dissolution and the Response to Dissolution.
California is a community property state, which means both parties have an equal interest in community property regardless of the employment status and earnings of the individual spouses. However, property acquired after the date of separation is not considered community property even though the couple is still legally married. Property acquired after the date of separation is separate property, just as inheritances, gifts, and items acquired before the marriage are considered the sole property of the person who received them.
Typically, the date of separation is when when one spouse moves out of the marital home. Unfortunately, because of tough economic times, it's becoming more common for couples who are in the middle of filing for divorce to still be living together. If this is the case, the court will look for other signs of physical separation. This means that one spouse did something to indicate the marriage was over and that he or she intended to file for divorce. For example, the date which one of you moved into the guest bedroom would be a possible date of separation. Becoming romantically involved with another partner would also be considered a sign the marriage was over.
If a couple can't agree on the date of separation, the court will have to conduct a separate mini trial to decide the issue. This most often occurs in circumstances where a disagreement in the date of separation has serious financial consequences, such as determining if a large bonus or the awarding of company stock options will be considered community property.
The date of separation is most often discussed in terms of its significance in determining the division of marital assets, but you should keep in mind that it is also relevant in determining the distribution of marital debts. Debts incurred before the date of separation are a joint responsibility, while debts incurred after the date of separation belong solely to the person who took on the obligation.
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Please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at info@PasadenaLawOffice.com if you are in need of an attorney for your divorce. Our Pasadena divorce lawyers are able to handle a variety of divorce-related issues, including child support, child custody, and spousal support concerns.