• Philip S. Burnham, Esq.

Date of Separation Affects Divorce Proceedings

Date of separation is when a spouse determines the date that signifies the end of their marriage. It is an important date that will be used in future divorce proceedings. Though definitions from each state vary, most states determine that the separation date starts when spouses stop cohabitating as a married couple. Many people do not realize that this date is more significant than the date when the divorce is finalized. Courts use the date of separation to rule on issues like alimony, child support, adultery, and property division.

Marital Properties

Since income is considered to be marital property in most states, both parties usually have claims to monies and other assets earned during their marriage. In terms of property distribution, income is separated after the date of separation. If a spouse did not get paid until after the date of separation, it could be considered marital property. Income sources, like deferred payments and stock options, will be valued based on circumstances and state of residency. Other properties obtained prior to the date of separation are classified as joint or community property.

Child Support, Alimony, and Adultery

The date of separation also influences when a parent claims their responsibility for child support and alimony. Depending on the state, a spouse may have to provide child support and alimony on the day they leave the marital home. Most states specify that being faithful to a spouse stops on the date of separation. If the court discovers adultery, it may affect divorce proceedings and rulings.

Distribution of Property in New Jersey

Distribution of property in a divorce varies by each state. It is important to realize that New Jersey is an equitable distribution state. Rather than splitting property equally, the courts divide properties by evaluating the circumstances. A ruling is based on what the judge determines as fair; the equal split of properties is not always the case. This should be considered while filing for a divorce.

Date of Separation in New Jersey

In the State of New Jersey, the date of separation is the cutoff period for establishing new assets as marital property. The date of filing the complaint is also important in New Jersey divorce cases; it signifies the cutoff for equitable distribution of active assets. This applies to assets that might increase in value after the date of complaint. As a result, each party cannot get equitable distribution after the date of complaint. These assets might include bonuses or contributing retirement accounts. Passive assets, like interest in savings accounts, are not affected.

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