Far too many people think about the divorce first. In reality, there’s another occasion that marks the ‘beginning of the end’ of a marriage. That occasion is the Date of Separation.
The Date of Separation
The Date of Separation is as it implies: it’s the date where both parties legally separate, more or less beginning the process of divorce (before one party officially files).
The date of separation marks the time where both parties are in legal and financial limbo. From that point, they maintain that legal and financial status until the Date of Divorce arrives. The type of limbo both parties remain in puts them at financial and legal risk of managing their assets, property and debts. Even outside factors affect the financial and legal status of both parties during this period, since (financial) market conditions can cause the value of their assets to potentially depreciate.
What determines the DoS
The actual Date of Separation varies between states. Some states define the Date of Separation as the date where one spouse physically relocates from their marital place of residence. Others have a definition describing the Date of Separation as the date where the actual divorce papers are filed in court. The Date of Separation, in other states, is considered the date where one party informs the other they intend to file for divorce.
The variation in the Date of Separation can make determining the actual date tricky. The first definition regards some kind of finality for the divorcing party, while the others still may depict the parties living with each other (for various reasons). Due to that, it’s important for both parties to talk to their individual attorneys about determining the actual Date of Separation for their situation.
The Date of Separation and finances
The Date of Separation has a large effect on finances. In some cases, a lack of DoS can cause a large amount of financial needs to remain unresolved. Therefore, it’s important for both parties to sort out their finances before formally deciding a Date of Separation.
Both mortgage and credit line payments still remain within the responsibility of both parties during a marriage and even after the Date of Separation. That’s why it’s suggested for both parties to agree to close any joint credit lines (and bank accounts) before formally deciding on a date.
Retirement funds aren’t usually divided until the Date of Divorce. The party with the retirement account at risk should obtain a copy of the account’s details and benefits brochure to have a reference