Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Importance of Date of Separation in a California Divorce

What is "Date of Separation" and what does it mean?

Most people often confuse "Date of Separation" with a "Judgment of Separation" and there is even more confusion with the term "Living Separate and Apart."    What does all of this mean?

After parties file a Petition with the court, whether for divorce, annulment, or separation, they may obtain a Judgment of Separation.     This means that the parties have separated, and have made some type of agreement regarding finances, custody or support and property division.      However, they are technically still married.      To obtain a judgment of separation, both parties must agree to the judgment of separation.   If one party does not, the Court must either terminate the marriage through divorce, or find a "nullity" of marriage. (annulment)

What are the benefits of a Judgment of Separation?
One benefit is that this usually resolves all of the financial issues in the case.     However, people previously got judgments of separation because many employers kept medical and health coverage benefits in place.     This is generally no longer the case.      Make sure to consult Attorney Kevin J. Kensik to determine your rights.

The Date of Separation is the date parties typically decide to live "Separate and Apart" and also decide to end the marriage.     This date can be critical because it may determine some of the following issues:
                                          -    Duration of Alimony (Spousal Support)
                                          -    Amount of Retirement Benefits
                                          -    Amount of other benefits, such as employment bonuses,
                                                awards, business values and other items.

Previously for about the last 10 years, one of the parties had to move out of the residence.
(Marriage of Norviel (2002) 102 Cal.App.4th, 1152) and Family Code 771.)

This is no longer the case.    A recent case, however, the Norviel standard was considered "unduly rigid" and in fact severely modified.    (Irmo Davis (2013)

How can you know what dates are critical?   Contact Palos Verdes Divorce Attorney Kevin J. Kensik
at 310-891-2300 or 310-704-0879.

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