Armstrong Law, P.C.

Why does the date of separation matter?

When divorcing in Massachusetts, people are often surprised to know that the end of the marriage is counted in two ways. The first is the date of separation and the second is the actual finalization of divorce. But, why does it matter when you separated? Does it have any legally binding consequences?

Forbes points out that in many instances, it does. Assets and debts accrued between the wedding day and the date of separation belongs to both parties. Assets and debts accrued after the date of separation belongs to the respective individuals.

This means that if your partner racked up some debt after you told them the marriage was over, that debt may only be attributed to them. However, the same might be true if they win the lottery the day after you move out. As a result, the date of separation may be an important tool in deciding what debts and assets should be shared or kept separate.

But, how do you determine the date of separation? Different states may have different rules on this. For some, parties must live apart. For others, sleeping in different bedrooms or announcing the decision to file for divorce might be enough.

The main problem lies in the fact that partners may not be on the same page. You may have been 100 percent sure you were leaving when you announced your intentions, but your partner may not have taken you seriously until another defining moment. In their minds, that moment might be their date of separation.

Because of this, arriving at a date may require some cooperation. If communication has broken down between both parties than this might prove to be a tricky affair. However, the sooner you sit down together and hash out any discrepancies, the sooner you can get the process over and done with.

This article provides information on the date of separation and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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