Date of separation

The date of separation is the day your relationship ended. The law says this is the day when there's a complete and final break of your marriage.

Figuring out your date of separation

  • Start with the day that one of you let the other one know (by actions or words) they wanted to end your marriage  

  • Confirm that after that day, your or their actions were consistent with wanting to end your marriage 

For some people, this day is clear. It's the day they moved out. For others, it's the day they agreed that their marriage was over, and they made plans to divorce. In some cases, it's not so clear. 

Date of separation could impact issues in your case

  • The day determines the length of your marriage: the day you married to the day you separated. 
  • This day can impact several issues in your divorce, like property division and spousal support.
The date of separation is used to figure out if property is community (belongs to you both) or separate (belongs to just one of you). Generally, money earned or debts taken out by a spouse after the date of separation is that spouse’s separate property. Property or debts from after you married, but before the date of separation is usually community property.  Learn more about the date of separation and community property 


Length of marriage is one thing a judge considers if they order spousal support. If you have a large disagreement about when you separated, it can change how long you were married. Learn more about permanent spousal support.

If you're not sure about your date of separation and it might impact your financial situation, talk to a lawyer.

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