EP 32: How The Separation Date Can Have a Big Effect On Your Divorce Settlement

Welcome to the thirty-second episode of the Divorce and Your Money Podcast. Shawn Leamon, MBA and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, discusses the separation date and what it means to your divorce and settlement. The separation date is the date by which you are legally and for all practical purposes divorced, except that you are not yet officially divorced. Regulations regarding the separation date vary in each state, so you need to be aware of your state’s laws.

The criteria for the separation date includes such things as when a spouse files for separation, moves out of the house, and picks a date to get a divorce. The key point about the separation date is that it can be used as a way to value marital property. The debts that you are splitting could be calculated as of the separation date. It also means that property and debt acquired after that will belong only to you.

You can put together a separation agreement, and you need to work closely with your attorney to work out the details, as they can be complicated and act as a preview of how your final divorce settlement will look. It includes such matters as spousal support, child support, and who gets certain assets.

Some people might consider a permanent separation instead of a divorce, which could be best for certain medical, legal, or religious reasons. It can be a lengthy separation and really just depends on your situation and the state laws that govern it. You need to remember that once this date is set up, many financial sources could be cut off.

Key Learning Points:

  • The separation date is a legal gray area but is the period following your separation but not yet officially divorced.
  • Different states have different laws about the separation date.
  • Property and debt acquired after the separation date are separate property.
  • A separation agreement can give you an idea of what the divorce settlement might look like.
  • It can be made permanent, depending on your situation.